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5000 . -42 . 3 



I 



HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




TRANSFERRED 

FBOM THI 

GRADUATE SCHOOL 
or 

BUSINESS ADMnnSTRATION 



1 













^"f^fft^ ^JSLY. 



fjiflw, loi]. 



THE LEGAL SUBJECTION OF MEN. 



THE LEGAL 
SUBJECTION OF MEN. 



BY 

E. BELFORT BAX. 



{New Edition By arrangemmt with the Twentieth Century 
PresSf Limited.) 




THE NEW AGE PRESS. 

140, Flbbt Street London, E.C 

1908. 






HARVARD CCLLFGE llCa/Cy 

DEPOSITED BY THE LirRARY OF THE 

PRAD'JATE SCHOOL OF EUSINESS ALMI^ilSTRATIOM 



JUW 2f f»40 



CONTENTS. 



PAOB 

PRBFACB TO NBW EDITION... ... ... ... V 

PRBFACB ... ... ... ... ... ... VII 

TBB LEGEND ... ... ... ... ... I 

THE FACTS ... ... ... ... ... ... 3 

MATRIMONIAL PRIVILEGES OF WOMEN ... ... 5 

NON-MATRIMONIAL PRIVILEGES OF WOMEN ... ... 33 

THE CRIMINAL LAW ... ... ... ... 33 

ANALYSIS OF CASES ... ... ... ... ... 44 

THE CIVIL LAW ... ... ... ... ... 51 

THE ACTUAL EXERCISE OF WOMEN'S SEX PRIVILEGES ... 56 

MUSCULAR INFERIORITY AND SEX PRIVILEGE ... 61 

A SEX NOBLESSE ... ... ... ... ... 62 

SOCIALISTS AND FEMINISTS ... ... ... 63 

" THE OPPRESSED WOMAN " ... ... ... ... 64 



PREFACE TO NEW EDITION. 



I HAVE been usually credited with being the chief 
author of the following brochure. Such, however, is 
not the case. ** The Legal Subjection of Men '* is in 
great part the work of an Irish barrister and LL.D. of 
Dublin, who died a few years ago. That portions here 
and there are from my pen is true, but for the bulk 
of the pamphlet I am not directly responsible, as any 
expert in literary style will probably detect. I mention 
the circumstance in writing the few words of preface 
for the new edition asked of me by th6 publishers, not 
with a view to any disclaimer, but simply in the interests 
of literary truth and accuracy. For though, as stated, 
only m3^elf directly responsible for short sections, I 
none the less, in the main, heartily endorse the whole. 

The present edition has been carefully corrected and 
the Law brought up to date, though the illustrative 
cases necessarily remain as in the original edition. 

There have been few agitations in history which have 
been characterised by such hard lying and shameless 



VI PREFACE TO NEW EDITION. 

perversion of fact as the so-called ** Woman's Move- 
ment." Unfortunately, continually-reiterated alssertions 
in direct contravention with the real state of the case 
have only too well succeeded. The public mind has 
been bull-dozed into assuming the reverse oi what 
actually obtains to represent the truth, and has sym- 
pathised and given efifect to its sympathies on the basis 
of these false representations. I need scarcely say that 
the advocates of ** Woman's Rights " and female suf- 
frage, whose whole credit is based upon the tissue of 
falsehood it is the mission of this little work to expose, 
have done their best to boycott and ignore the exposure. 
All honour then to the Twentieth Century Press for 
originally publishing, and to the New Age Press for 
having the courage to risk offending certain sections 
of "advanced" opinion by reprinting, the following 
unvarnished statement of Law and fact. 

E. Belfort Bax. 



PREFACE. 

It seemed to the authors of the following pamphlet 
that the time had fairly come for confronting the false 
assumptions underlying the conventional whining cant 
of the Feminist advocate with a plain and unvarnished 
statement of Law and fact. 

The '' Woman's rights " (?) agitator has succeeded by 
a system of sheer impudent, brazen, ** bluff," alternately 
of the whimpering and the shrieking order, in inducing 
a credulous public to believe that in some mysterious 
way the female sex is groaning under the weight of the 
tyranny of him whom they are pleased to term " man 
the brute." The facts show these individuals to be right 
in one point and only one, namely, that sex-injustice 
and sex-inequality exist ; for it so happens that the facts 
further show the said injustice and inequality to exist 
wholly and solely in favour of women as against men. 

In short, they disclose a state of things in which, 
dozvn to the minutest detail of Law and administrationy civil 



VIII PREFACE. 

and criminal f w$men an iniquiiously privileged al the expense 
of men. As it is, many an unhappy male victim of 
modem sex-prerogative would doubtless be only too 
delighted to be allowed to partake of a little of the dire 
oppression under which he is told unfortunate Woman 
is groaning, but from any share in which he sees himself 
to his detriment excluded. Mr. Hardcastle found his 
guest's new-fashioned shyness bore a strong resemblance 
to old-fashioned impudence, and our male victim of 
pro-feminist laws and tribunals may well be excused 
for failing to distinguish between this new-fashioned 
oppression and old-fashioned domination. 

In conclusion, we would advise the Feminist guild to 
ignore our pamphlet with its tale of infamy. It is their 
only chance of gulling their sentimental dupes any 
longer. Let the latter once know of our sketch, and 
their game is up. For those who have read it, and who 
retain the vestiges of an open mind on the subject, the 
maundering farce of "down-trodden woman and the 
brute man " will be played out. 



THE LEGAL SUBJECTION OF MEN, 



I. THE LEGEND. 

John Stuart Mill is dead! but his eloquent wail 
of the subjection of women is never let die — ^it rings in 
our ears every day. It is solemn, it is pathetic ; it 
overflows with the chivalric sentiment which Mill 
professes to repudiate as out of date, like the clanship 
and hospitality of the wandering Arab, but which 
nevertheless, is so strongly developed in the average 
male. It has become the gospel of women's pretended 
wrongs, and has caused the ingenuous youth of Oxford 
and Cambridge to blush for their fellow males. The 
only objection that the lawyers oi the present year 
of grace can raise to it is that it is really the reverse of 
legal truth. 

But even apart from the late John Stuart Mill, for 
considerably more than a generation past — indeed, one 
may say, more or less from the beginning of the present 
century — mankind, in this and some other countries, 
has had sedulously instilled into its mind the notion that 
the female sex is labouring under a grievous oppression 
at the hiands of the tyrant male. In the present day this 
opihion has acquired the character of an axiom which 
few people think of disputing. Every occurrence bearing 
upon the social or economical relation of the sexes is 
judged in the light of this fixed idea. The press in 
general voices the view of public opinion with the result 
that the assumption in question is continually being 
reiterated. The moral of the injustice exercised by man 
upon woman is insisted upon with all the devices of 
rhetoric, and every chance occurrence is eagerly seized 



upon and pressed into the service to point the moral and 
adorn the tale of the favourite theory. 

No one, as far as we are aware, has seriously set 
him or herself to proving, the theory to have any 
foundation at all. Starting with the assumption, the 
state of things it implies has been deplor^, people 
have tried to explain it, to suggest remedies for it, 
but tested it has never been. We all know the story 
of King Charles II. and the Royal Society ; how 
the Merry Monarch, shortly after the institution of 
that learned body, propounded a problem for )t9 
solution, to wit, why a dead fish weighed more 
than a live one? Many were the explanations sug- 
gested, till at length one bold man proposed that they 
should come back to first principles, and have a dead 
fish and a live fish respectively placed in the scales before 
them. The proposition was received with horror, one 
member alleging that to doubt the fact amounted to 
nothing less than high treason. After much difficulty, 
however, the bold man got his way ; the matter was put 
to the test, when, to the utter discomfiture of the loyal 
members, the alleged fact which they were seeking to 
explain evinced itself as but a figment of the Royal 
fancy. 

We propose in the following paragraphs to consider 
whether the matter does not stand similarly only very 
much " more so '* as regards the conventional notion of 
the legal and social disabilities of women. In the 
present paper we shall merely confine ourselves to the 
legal aspects of the question. 

It will not, we think, take us long to convince our- 
selves that the allegations on this subject which the 
present generation, at least, has had dinned into its ears 
from all sides since its infancy, are even on a less favour- 
able footing as regards accuracy. Charles II. thought 
the dead fish weighed heavier than the live one. The 
event only proved that they weighed the same — not that 



the live one weighed heavier than the dead one. Our 
modem women's righters bewail the alleged legal o^ 
pression of women by men. The facts show not that 
neither sex is oppressed as such, but, on the contrary, 
they disclose a legalised oppression of men by women. 

II. THE FACTS. 

We will in the first place give a short statement of the 
law of husband and wife, with a view to discovering on 
which side of the equation does the weight of privilege 
lie, regarding the marriage contract as it at present 
exists in this country. 

Let us clearly understand what are the exact limita- 
tions, and what the extraordinary extent of these sex 
privileges conferred by law. Rich men are, on account 
of their wealth, in a more enviable position towards 
any litigant in the Law Courts than are poor men. 
The privilege here is of wealth. But rich women are ' 
enormously better off in the matter of legal privilege 
than are rich men, and poor women are similarly 
privileged by law as against men of their own class. 

The Letter of the Law. 

This privilege conferred on women arises in an 
extraordinary number of cases, for the express letter of 
the law discriminates in the sharpest possible manner 
between men and women in the matter of legal right 
and duty, of civil law advantage and criminal law 
exemption. 

But the letter of the law is supplemented by the bias 
of tribunals and by the bias of the press, and of public 
opinion, of which opinion, after all, the action of the 
tribunals is but a reflection. Who interprets, enacts. 
The unfair incidence of the law, bad enough by itself, is 
rendered crushing by the made-up minds of judge and 
jury. 

B2 



4 
Bus OP Tribunals. 

The settled bias of the tribunals in favour of the 
woman complainant, actuating magistrates, judge and 
jury, operates in two ways. In the first place a woman 
has only to complain against a man, and the tribunal 
is already convinced of the justice of her claim. The 
tribunal is only impartial if the complaint is by one 
woman against another. In the next place, no adequate 
repression of crime or other injury by a woman against 
a man is even attempted. 

Bias of Press and Public Opinion. 

This tendency of the tribunals is confirmed and 
rendered irresistible by the action of the press and public 
opinion. All injuries to a woman are chronicled with 
flaring headlines. Injuries by women to men are 
laughed at, or worse still, passed over in silence. 

The origin of this bias is a subject of deep interest, but 
not one capable of being discussed within brief limits. 
It is, of course, to be found in the history of England for 
some centuries past — ^practically since the Reformation 
— ^in so far as difference in the intensity of the sentiment 
differentiates England from other European peoples. It 
is to be found in the history of Europe and the race for 
many centuries before the period of the great European 
upheaval of the i6th century. It is enough for the 
present to note that the pro-feminist prejudice exists 
and is transmuted into positive rules of law, and legal 
administration by the action of public opinion and the 
press. Parliament, judges and juries, and crystallised 
into statutory enactment by an active pro-feminist 
propaganda of sex-conscious women's righters.-^ 

If anyone thinks the latter factor unimportant, it may 
be sufficient to remind him of the statutory innovation 



involving the most flagrant injustice, inasmuch as 
flagrant inequality, viz. : — 

1. Summary Court for Separation. Open to women 
alone, except in the case of dnmkenness (cf. Licensing 
Act, 1902). 

2. Action for Slander. Open to women alone. 

3. Duty of Husband to maintain his wife — ^notwith- 
standing her adultery. — ^This last a triumph of feminine 
privileges enacted in 1895 ! 

It is impossible in any distribution of the main out- 
lines of sex-privilege to avoid occasionally overlapping. 
One arrangement of the topics will be convenient. Let 
us consider women's privileges under the head of Matri- 
monial Law, and the Civil Law generally, and, further, 
of the Criminal Law. 

These privileges arise indirectly from the action of 
the legislature, but mainly from that of the Courts, and 
consist of : first, the deliberate introduction of new rules 
of law and procedure, and, secondly, the retention of 
some old-world privileges of women, logical enough 
when women were dependent, but under modern con- 
ditions engines of tyranny against men. 

MATRIMONIAL PRIVILEGES OF WOMEN. 

I. Breach of Promise of Marriage. 
The law of George III., punishing by damages — 
usually vindictive damages — ^violation of breach of 
promise of marriage. The women's privilege to commit 
perjury plays a great part in this process. A woman 
swears a man promised to marry her. Judge and jury 
hold this statement false, and mark the result. No one 
suggests that she should be indicted for perjury. On 
the contrary, the grateful male litigant, happy to 
escape, settles ;^3,ooo on her (Gore v. Lord Sudley, 10 
June, 1896). 



Furthermore, by custom of the tribunals creating the 
Common Law, this action is confined in its benefits to 
woman. A man suing in a like case is laughed out of 
Court. This may or may not be a just privilege con- 
ferred on women — ^that of breaking their promise free of 
l^al penalty, but it is obviously a privilege conferred by 
the practice of the Courts on women as such. The rules 
of law invalidating contracts obtained by fraud, duress, 
or undue influence, have no effect as against a woman 
inducing a man, by subtle device or threats of scandal, 
to marry her. An experienced woman of 30 can entrap 
a boy of 22 into such a promise ; the Court takes no 
notice of the invalidity from point of view of fair play. 
But a man suing a woman of any age would be laughed 
out of Court. 

2. Privilege to Defraud Under Cover of Promise 
OF Marriage. 

This is, of course, a minor privilege compared with 
that of exacting damages for breach of promise. But 
it is a real privilege, nevertheless. A man gives valuable 
property — ^jewellery, furniture, or money — ^to a woman 
under an agreement to marry, fraudulently entered into 
on her part, inasmuch as she has no power to carry out 
her promise, being already married or preferring some- 
one else. The man, in practice (whatever theory may 
be) is not assisted to recover the property, and the 
magistrate rebukes him for " unmanly " behaviour ! 
Contrast the other side. A woman makes a loan to a 
man whom she knows to be married. He receives a 
sentence of five years penal servitude. 

3. Maintenance. 

As against her husband, the law confers on a woman 
who has married him the unilateral privilege of main- 
tenance. The earlier law made this privilege dependent 
on her obedience, cohabitation with her husband, and 



her observance of outwardly decent behaviour. The 
present law has set her free from all these restraints. 
Since 1857 the Secular Courts which then assumed juris- 
diction in matrimonial matters, has given up all attempt 
to enforce obedience, but' the most violent methods, in- 
cluding imprisonment and sequestration of the property 
of the husband are employed to enforce her claim to 
maintenance. By a recent Statute (the Act of 1884) the 
process of imprisonment to make a wife obey an order 
to return to her husband was abolished. By the famous 
decision in the Jackson Case the husband was prohibited 
from himself using force to compel her to return. But 
the deserted wife by magisterial order can get her desert- 
ing husband sent to gaol. And neither legislature nor 
the Courts, which took away her duties of obedience and 
cohabitation, ever dreamt of depriving her of her 
privilege of being maintained by the man whom she can 
flout and insult with impunity. As a successful lady 
litigant (May, 1896) remarked to her husband, ** There 
is no law which compels me to obey or honour you, but 
there is a law that you must keep me." This woman 
tersely sums up the position. 

In the case of a man of property the Courts will 
expropriate him for the benefit of his wife. In the 
case of a wage-earner the Courts from police magistrates 
to Supreme Court will decree him to be her earning 
slave, bound to work for her or go to prison. A wife, 
no matter if rolling in wealth, is not obliged to contribute 
a penny to her husband's support, even if he be incapaci- 
tated from work through disease or accident. The sole 
exception which the law makes in derision is that if he be 
actually in such destitution as to go to the workhouse, 
then the wealthy wife is obliged to pay, not to her hus- 
band, but the local authorities, the cost of his main- 
tenance at the exiguous scale usual in such cases. 

Even a wife who, against her husband's wish, leaves 
his house after assaulting and insulting him can obtain 



8 

against him an order for restitution of conjugal rights. 
This is a mere preliminary to form a basis for a claim for 
sequestration of his property for her maintenance. The 
Act of 1884 forbids the Court to order imprisonment for 
refusal to obey an order of restitution of conjugal rights, 
but enables such a refusal to be made a ground for 
confiscation of the husband's property in favour of the 
wife. No reciprocity here. Imprisonment before 1884 
afiFected both husband and wife. Sequestration of 
property, the husband alone. Now imprisonment is 
abolished for the wife, and so the wife goes scot free, 
while the husband is as much bound as ever in person 
and in property. 

This iniquitous statutory rule is made use of by 
women who have no wish whatever to return to their 
husbands. After overbearing ill-usage and desertion of 
the husband for years, the wife applies to the Court for 
an order for restitution, well knowing that her unfortu- 
nate victim will not obey the order. Then the robbery 
of his property is completed by a second order in Court. 

But no disobedience to a like order on her part enables 
her property to be confiscated, or herself to be sent to 
prison. 



4. Disposition of Property Free from Control of 
^ Husband. 

/ By the Married Women's Property Acts a woman has 

I complete control over all property acquired or inherited 

j by her in any way, free from any claim on the part of 

her husband. With cynical injustice she is left in 

possession of all her old claims on her husband's 

\ property, and the latest charter of female privilege, the 

• Statute of 1895, gives her claims regardless even of her 

adultery. 



I Cft%l 



This matter deserves more attention than it usually 
receives. Let us consider the topics in order : — 

(a) Source of Women* s Property. 

The piteous tales of artistic working women, of wives 
robbed by their worthless husbands, from the Mrs. 
Morton of fact to the Miss Trotwood of fiction, formed 
the foundation of the claim for a revision of the law. 
J-iberty for women to retain their own earnings. 
Obvious equity here I 

But the bulk of women's property, in 99 out of every 
100 cases, is not earned by them at all. It arises from 
gift or inheritance from parents, relatives, or even the 
despised husband. Whenever there is any earning in 
the matter it is notoriously earning by some mere man 
or other. Nevertheless, under the operation of the law, 
property is steadily being concentrated into women's 
hands. ** Once Stridhan always Stridhan." 

{h) Control through Life. 

The wife has absolute and unfettered control over her 
own property, man-earned though it be, and her person. 
This is the new style. But the gaoler and the broad 
arrow make the husband, her earning slave, to be in- 
sulted and jeered with impunity. This is the old style 
with a difference. ''AH yours is mine, and all mine's 
my own." Mere man is not worth considering when 
the material aggrandizement of women is concerned ! 

(c) Control at Death. 

By the Married Women's Property Acts, a woman 
has complete power of leaving her property away from 
her husband, by will, even though in his prosperity he 
gave it to her. The husband can be prevented from 
doing so, by the wife's suing him for maintenance, when 
his property, or as much of it as judges think fit, is 
settled on her, and can no longer be disposed of by his 



lO 

will. Conveyancers aver that the steady tendency is 
for a woman to leave property acquired from some man 
always to a woman. A silent revolution in succession is 
being accomplished. But the man is left under his old 
burdens of supporting his wife. 

{d) Bankrupting Husband for Money Lent. 

A wife is privileged to recover judgment against, and 
bankrupt her husband for any money she may have lent 
him, and this privilege is no dead letter. 

A husband does not lend, but gives money to his wife. 
If he were to attempt by legal documents to turn it into 
a loan, he would discover once again that what is sauce 
for the goose, is by no means sauce for the gander. 
There is no case on record of a husband daring to sue 
his wife for a loan. 

5. Disposition of Property Free From Control of 

Creditors. 

Not merely as against the husband, but against her 
creditors, the married woman is in a position of enviable 
privilege. A married woman, even when separated 
from her husband, and released from all duties towards 
him or her children, retains her privilege of having her 
property exempt from seizure for debt. 

Technicalities would be tedious, but the following is 
the practical working of the law. In legal phraseology, 
if a married woman enters into a contract^ and if yarn 
important if) there is no restraint against anticipation 
in her settlement, then her property, or some of it, may 
be attached. As to the restraint against anticipating 
income, this clause, introduced by Lord Chancellor 
Thurlow to protect an interesting relative of his against 
her husband, is practically to be found in every settle- 
ment, being now useful against the creditor, although 
no longer needed against the husband. 



II 

6. Vicarious Responsibility of Husband Towards 

Third Persons for his Wife's Misconduct. 

The husband is liable, and his wife is not, for all the 
civil wrongs (torts) she may commit. He has no control 
over her, but serves as her whipping-boy. This, though 
she publicly defames and insults him in every way, and 
has deserted him. 

As Sir Frank Lockwood put it, one has the deep 
consolation of knowing that if Mrs. Jackson utters 
slanders Mr. Jackson can be sued. 

Under the older English law, when the wife was 
**soii5 la verge de son marry e** (the canon law sub virga 
viri)y the rule was reasonable enough. Now, however, 
it is only an illustration of the pro-feminist bias .of the 
Courts. Every moth-eaten scrap of privilege, which is 
in favour of the woman, they retain. 

All privileges of the husband, no matter how firmly 
established, they deny as having ever existed. Look at 
the astounding declaration of Lord Halsbury in the 
Jackson case, that the husband never had the right in 
English law to restrain his wife ! ! ! 

7. Impunfty for Crimes Committed in Husband's 

Presence. 

The ** Doctrine of Coercion." 

Again, a pious archaeology animates the judges when 
the woman is to be benefited. Notwithstanding the 
revolutionary changes in the law, another old-world 
privilege of the ** woman under the rod *' is reserved for 
the dominating female of to-day. If her husband is 
present when she is committing a crime, a married 
woman is presumed by an intelligent administration of 
justice to have acted under his coercion. This is some- 
times amusing, when, as often happens, the woman is 
the instigator of the crime. 



14 

find money for her solicitors, and has to pay in adf- 
vance!! He must also pay her alimony pendente lite. 

Then when he is dragged to Court by a heartless and 
vindictive woman, he finds the scales still more heavily 
weighted against him. The rules might be formulated 
somewhat in this way : — 

1. Every woman's statement complaining of her hus- 
band is assumed to be true until he conclusively proves 
it to be false. The onus prohandi is on him, and the 
difficulty he has to face is that of proving a negative. 

2. The slightest harshness or even cardessness of 
speech or behaviour, no matter under what provocation 
(the records of years being searched to find one) is 
absolutely final proof of ** cruelty " if committed by the 
husband. No amount of insolence and brutality — short 
of actual attempt to maim — ^is cruelty in a wife. Any- 
thing she does is a pardonable exhibition of feminine 
temper. 

3. The husband and his witnesses are prosecuted for 
perjury on the slightest inaccuracy being discerned in 
their narration of facts. Deliberate perjury is passed 
over if committed by the wife, her paramour^ or her 
witnesses. 

4. No charge, no matter of what infamous crime, 
falsely made by a wife against a husband, is a ground 
for his refusing to take her back. If he should refuse, 
the Court confiscates for her benefit as much of his 
property or earnings as they think fit. 

One result of these instructive rules of practice is to be 
found in the number of undefended divorce suits. It is 
a common saying of the legal profession that multitudes 
of husbands allow judgments to go against them by 
default, as they are quite conscious that no man, not 
of absolutely angelic character — ^unless he be himself 
a lawyer — ^has any chances before a prejudiced pro- 
feminist judge and jury. 



IS 

9. Endowment of Adulteress out of Damages. 

Here we come upon a marvellous specimen of judicial 

leg^islation, wherein Parliament has not been troubled. 

In case of a husband succeeding under the Act of 1895 

lie will have difficulty in future in getting a divorce from 

bis wife by reason of adultery. He is entitled to • ' 

damages from the co-respondent for the injury to him, 

<]one in breaking up his home, and exposing him to 

mental suffering and material loss. The damages are 

supposed to be paid to the husband on this basis — ^that 

they were in compensation for his loss. They are still 

assessed on this basis, but at the end of the nineteenth 

century we find the judges creating a legal fiction. 

Influenced by the wave of feminist sentimentality, the 

judges have actually seized on these damages as a fund 

for endowing the adulteress. 

The way this insidious device was introduced was as 
follows : — It not unfrequently happened that a husband 
assented of his own free will to the damages, which in 
law were his own property, being settled on the children 
of the marriage. Sometimes he included his late wife 
in that dedication of the fund. This was generous of 
him, as the woman had obviously forfeited her claims on 
him. Now, however, the judge, without consulting 
Parliament, has deprived the injured husband of the 
merit of generosity. Without the husband's consent, in 
fact, notwithstanding his opposition, the judge will 
hand over the damages, which in strict law are the 
husband's, to such trustees as they think fit, and trans- 
form the fund into an endowment for the adulteress who 
has prudently selected a rich man as co-respondent. 

To understand the iniquity of this proceeding, let us 
take the opposite case. In some American States the 
wife's trade union has procured the passing of a law 
that enables a wife to sue for damages for her husband's 
seduction. What would be thought of the American 
Courts if they siezed on the damages so secured and 



i6 

settled them as a provision on the delinquent husband? 
or ho add a grotesque completeness to the parallel) 
settle them on the husband and his children by his fair 
seducer? 

Yet a similar piece of monstrous injustice — ^to men, 
though not to women — ^is the law of England to-day. 

Our pro-feminist judges are presumably indifferent to 
the fact that the subsidy of the adulteress in this way 
can have but one result, namely, to ** encourager les 
autres,** 

lo. Custody of Children. 

"It has always in England been laid down as a funda- 

/ mental law based on public policy, that the custody of 

/ children and their education is a duty incumbent on the 

( father. It is said to be so fundamental that he is not 

/ permitted to waive his exercise of the right by pre- 

C nuptial contract. (See the Agar v. Ellis Case.) 

This rule of the Common Law of England is of course 
in harmony with the policy of all Europe and Christen- 
dom, as well as with the historic conditions of the 
European social organisation, if not with the primal 
instincts of the race- 
Nevertheless, fundamental and necessary as the rule 
may be, the pro-feminist magisti'ates and judges of 
England are bent apparently on ignoring it with a light 
heart. They have not merely retained the old rule that 
the custody of infants of tender years remains with the 
mother until the child attains the age of seven. But 
they go much further than that. As a matter of course, 
and without considering in the least the interests of the 
child, or of society at large, they hand over the custody 
and education of all the children to the litigant wife, 
whenever she establishes — an easy thing to do — ^a flimsy 
and often farcical case of technical ** cruelty." 

The victim husband has the privilege of maintaining 
the children as well as heriself out of his property, or 



17 

earnings, and has the added consolation of knowing 
that they will be brought up to detest him. 

Even in the extreme case where a deserting wife takes 
with her the children of the marriage, there is practically 
no redress for the husband if in narrow circumstances. 
The police courts will not interfere. The divorce court, 
as already stated, is expensive to the point of prohibi- 
tion. In any case the husband has tp face a tribunal 
already prejudiced in favour of the female, and the 
attendant scandal of a process will probably have no 
other result than to injure his children and their future 
prospects in life. 

II. Impunity for Offences against Husband. 

The wife in England enjoys either absolute immunity 
or liability to merely nominal punishment for all offences 
against her husband committed during marriage. Con- 
trast with this the rule as regards offences by the 
husband towards the wife. Gaol and public obloquy 
are his portion. 

This matter will be referred to again in considering 
the criminal law privileges of women in general (married 
or unmarried) as regards trial, sentence, remission of 
punishment, and gaol-treatment. It may here be noted 
that feminine exemption, as specially regards Matri- 
monial Law, is established in one of the following 
ways : — Either by 

1. The text of the law expressly, which discriminates 
between wife's offences and husband's, punishing the 
latter, and leaving unpunished the wife. For instance, 
in cases of desertion ; or by 

2. The administrators of the law who have established 
a rule of practice discriminating in favour of the woman, 
although nominally the law is the same for both. For 
instance, in cases of cruelty, perjury, and bigamy ; or by 
the fact that 



i8 

3. Whenever a pecuniary fine is imposed, nominally 
on the wife, the husband is the vicarious sufferer. He 
has to pay. 

With this preface let us consider the law and practice 
as regards a wife's offences against the husband, in the 
order of their frequency. 

(a) Impunity for Insolence and Insult. 

The most elaborate cruelty in the way of insolence 
and insult is unpunishable by the law when committed 
by the wife. The husband remains bound to support 
his torturer, who may publicly waylay and insult him, 
harass him at his work, procure his dismissal, libel him 
by postcards sent to his workshop, or to his club. If he 
be a rich man, he can get some tardy redress in the way 
of palliation ; but be remains liable to divorce and expro- 
priation at his wife's behest. The rod, the cucking 
school, the indictment as a scold at the assizes were the 
methods adopted by the Law of England and sanctioned 
by the Canon Law, until the present century, to repress 
such outrages. Now the feminine noblesse can torture 
their slaves with impunity. 

If the husband retaliates, the magistrate's order 
promptly consigns him to gaol and the prisoners' lash. 

-(h) Impunity for Neglect. 

The wife may repudiate every one of her duties, may 
utterly neglect her household, her children, and her 
husband. No remedy either in the police court or the 
divorce court for the husband. 

If the husband neglect the wife in this connection — 
** neglect " is a very elastic word — consequences ensue 
of which the chief are — 

(i) The prompt police court separation order, 
and confiscation of property and wages of hus- 
band (enforced by imprisonment). 



19 

(2) This so-called n^lect of the husband enables 
the wife to commit adultery with impunity, yet still 
she has her claim to maintenance. (Act of 1895.) 

Neglect on the part of the wife is no legal offence at 
all. Neglect on the part of the husband has been con- 
strued to mean anything of which the wife likes to 
complain. For example, an actor who is obliged to 
remain late at the theatre comes home late. This is held 
to be "neglect," with the usual penal consequences. 
What between the upper millstone of ** cruelty " and the 
nether millstone of '' neglect " the unfortunate husband 
can now be condemned ^ike, if he does something, or if 
he does nothing — ^anything the wife chooses to call so 
being construed as either ** cruelty " or ** neglect." 

(c) Impunity for Libel and Slander of Husband, 

No lying charge, no matter how gross, by word or 
writing is punishable if committed by the wife against 
the husband. She is free to slander and libel him before 
servants and strangers, solicitors and pressmen ; accuse 
him of every crime known to the Old Bailey calendar, 
and write postcards to his club or to his employer and 
penal consequences ensue as long as she lives in his 
house. Her husband cannot leave her without incurring 
punishment. 

If the husband, not to say slanders, but speaks dis- 
respectfully to his wife before servants or strangers, she 
is quite entitled to leave his house at once, and claim the 
usual separation and confiscation order, and deprive him 
of the custody of the children whom he is bound to 
support. 

(d) Impunity for Waylaying and Procuring Dismissal. 

A vindictive wife who courts publicity and scandal has 
the average respectable man — unless he be an angel or 
a lawyer — at her absolute mercy. If he be a man of the 
middle-classes, she can waylay him at his office and 

02 



M 



20 

destroy his business connection. She can call at his 
club and secure his expulsion. If he be a working man 
she can interview his employer and secure his prompt 
dismissal. She can render him a laughing-stodc to all 
his acquaintances, and at the same time achieve his 
financial ruin. The law and its administrators stand 
idly by. No remedy for the helpless male. The *' poor 
woman" (they are always that) must have been ill- 
used ; there is no such thing as savage vindictiveness 
and recklessness in the fem^e. 

(e) Impunity for Viohnce and AssaulU 

If a man under any provocation, no matter bow 
galling — ^insolence or violence — strikes a woman, he is 
sent to hard labour, divorced, and his property con- 
fiscated, or his earnings h3rpothecated — and all this 
through the prompt instrumentality of the police-court. 
A woman may assault, stab, set fire to her husband, and 
he has no remedy, except to summon her to the police- 
court, where, if she be fined, he is compelled to fmy the 
fine, and as likely as not is laughed at. , If her crime be 
revoltingly atrocious, she is perhaps sent to prison — ^for 
one-twentieth part of the time awarded to a male 
offender for a like offence. On her being released, her 
husband, unless he be a rich man, is bound to take her 
back, and, rich or poor, support her. The prompt and 
inexpensive police-court divorce is not for him. 

A humane police magistrate actually had to stoop to 
make terms with a cruel and murderous criminal. A 
wife strikes a felon blow at her husband, renders him 
insensible, and he has to be removed to the hospital. 
His face is badly scarred, six stitches having to be put 
into the wounds. The magistrate, wishing to prevent 
murder, binds her over to come up for judgment, if 
called upon, on condition that she kindly consents to 
sign a separation deed, permitting her unfortunate hus- 



31 

band stave to live apart from her. The slave of course 
has to support her all the same. {Morning Advertiser ^ 
and June, 1896. Thames Police Court.) 

(f) Impunity for Adultery. 

The latest charter of women's privileges — ^the Act 
of 1895— enables a woman to commit adultery with 
impunity — provided she can allege her husband neg- 
lected her. As " neglect *' usually means that she 
drove him to the pubHc-house or to fiis club by over- 
bearing violence and insolence, the present law means 
that if a woman has a fancy for adultery, all she need do 
is to pick a quarrel with her husband about anything she 
likes, then she can indulge in desertion and adultery 
with impunity, and claim the usual divorce and confis- 
cation from a sympathising tribunal. 

It is singular that the law on this very offence should 
be perpetually cited by women's righters as her chief 
grievance, next to the absence of the Parliamentary 
franchise — ^and as the standing illustration of the *' cruel 
inequality and injustice as between the woman and the 
man " of the English law of divorce. If a woman, we 
are told, commits adultery, a man can obtain absolute 
divorce, but if a woman sues she must prove cruelty as 
welL 

Now as to the earlier law, this was the rule, and 
something could be said to defend it. It is obvious that 
if a woman commits adultery she may introduce a 
bastard child to her husband's family, and saddle him 
with a pecuniary burden and them with an onerous 
relationship which it is unjust should be borne by them. 
If a husband has illicit relations, he does not bring home 
his bastard offspring. But since 1857 the secular court 
has practically abolished the discriminations. Let the 
wife prove illicit relations by the husband, and she has 
always had her divorce for the askinc^. The reason is 
simple. The Courts will hold, to oblige a wife, that 



22 

anything is cruelty .if committed by a husband. It is 
cruelty to come home late from his club ; it is cruelty to 
spend an evening with friends without her company. 
It is cruelty to hold her hands if she tries to strike or to 
bite him. 

However, these refinements are no longer necessary 
to the pro-feminist tribunals of England. The last 
charter of feminine privilege (the Act of 1895) has set 
the balance of express law the other way. Now a wife 
can commit adultery with impunity — ^if induced by the 
" neglect '* of her husband. No such excuse for the 
husband. 

(g) Impunity for Desertion. 

A woman can have her husband arrested and sent to 
gaol if he leaves her, even though her own violence and 
cruelty led to his flight. The husband gets no assist- 
ance from the law if his wife deserts him. 

The method in which this privilege has been worked 
out was simple enough. It consisted in abolishing all 
the husband's control over the wife's actions and 
property, and, on the other hand, retaining all the wife's 
power of legal compulsion on the husband, with added 
powers. 

These changes have practically come in during the 
period since 1857, when a secular court for divorce was 
established. Under the earlier law, prior to, and long 
after the Reformation, ecclesiastical censure restrained 
the deserting wife. But the secular common law also 
lent its aid to the husband. He could prevent her by 
force from leaving his house, and could bring her back 
if she had escaped. More, he had an action for 
** harbouring " against any of her relations or strangers 
who assisted her in straying away — ^as late as George 
III. a husband's action for damages on this ground was 
successful. 



^3 

An exception to the general rule, and even this was of 
doubtful validity, was introduced under Henry VIII. A 
wife could be assisted to leave her husband's house if 
she were journeying to the Bishop's Court to seek a 
separation. 

But the latest feminist rulings of the judges have quite 
swept away such fine distinctions as those of 1857. 

(i) By their fiction of "cruelty" — anything a 
husband does being ** cruelty " — they have enabled 
any woman who likes to leave on a pretended 
excuse. 

(2) By procuring the passing of an Act (Lord 
Chancellor Cairns' Act, 1884) the Courts got rid of 
their theoretical duty of ordering a wife to be 
imprisoned for refusing to obey an order of 
restitution of conjugal rights. Nothing in the way 
of compulsion by restraint of person or property is 
to be applied to the wife. But by a cynical stroke 
this Act provides that if a husband refuses to obey, 
his property is to be confiscated. And, more out- 
rageous than all, the wife's power to procure the 
arrest and imprisonment of the husband by the 
magistrate's Court is left untouched. 

A case in which the wife of a clergyman caused her 
husband to be arrested on board a ship going to 
America, and sentenced to hard labour by alleging his 
desertion, deserves special notice. True that the clergy- 
man, having means, could appeal to a higher Court and 
have the iniquitous sentence quashed. But the working 
man would have had to serve his allotted term in the 
prison cell. And no one has ever suggested that this 
wife should be punished. (See the case of the Rev. 
Peter MacDonald Neilson, June, 1894.) 

The notorious Jackson case furnished another pic- 
ture. Here a woman is upheld by the Court of Appeal 
in deserting her husband and condemning him to life- 



H 

long celibacy. He has absolutely no remedy against 
her. If she commits any civil injury against any one, he 
can be sued. If he should live with any other womany 
Mrs. Jackson can get a portion of the property confis- 
cated and settled on herself. She is not obliged to ask 
for a divorce, she can still keep him bound by limiting 
her demand to a judicial separation. 

The criticisms which some lawyers have made on this 
decision are wide of the mark. It was quite in harmony 
with the later current of authority, though in violent 
conflict with the settled Common Law of last century. 
Tie the man and let the woman free, is the prevalent 
judicial theory of to-day. 

Though the judges could obtain the passing of Lord 
Chancellor Cairns' Act, 1884, freeing the wife from 
imprisonment for desertion, there has been no sugges- 
tion of promoting an Act to enable a man in Mr. 
Jackson's position to obtain a divorce. 

So enamoured have they become with the new doctrine 
of feminine predominance in the relation of marriage, 
that the judges of the House of Lords have actually 
extended to Scotland their theory of tying the man and 
letting the woman free. For over three centuries the 
law of Scotland has provided that desertion for four 
years on the part of either spouse is ground for absolute 
divorce, with right of second marriage. For all that 
long period the Act has been found most salutary in 
effect. Now the judges in the House of Lords, in the 
year 1894, have practically repealed it. They have 
refused to grant a Scotch litigant divorce, although his 
wife has deserted him for over four years, and at the 
same time abducted his child. They allege, as the 
ground for this astonishing " new reading " of the law, 
that the husband did not really want her to return. As 
this can be alleged in every case in which a husband 
does not slavishly implore a shrew to come back, the 
result is that when a vindictive woman wants to prevent 



«5 

the man remarrying, she can successfully resist his claim 
for divorce. This salutary Act of Scots Parliament has 
been offered up as a whole burnt offering on the altar of 
the dominant female. 

(h) Impunity to Commit Bigamy. 

We now come to a flagrant instance where the law 
professes to apply impartially to masculine and feminine 
offenders. But the feminist administrators of the law 
have created an undisputed feminine privilege. Long 
terms of penal servitude await the male bigamist. The 
female is privileged to indulge in this form of deceit and 
theft with impunity. 

For, be it noted, it is almost invariably a desire to 
obtain economic advantage that impels the woman to 
this particular crime, the essence of which, of course, is 
the deceit practised on the innocent party. In the cases 
where there is no economic motive and where no deceit 
is practised on the second ** spouse " (to use the con- 
venient terms of the Scottish Law) no punishment is 
ever inflicted on the woman, and perhaps none is speci- 
ally required. The possession of the ** marriage lines " 
is sought for as a social advantage, though based on 
the deception of a public official. 

But in striking contrast to this practice, the man who 
contracts a second, t.e., illegal, alliance, even though he 
goes through the marriage ceremony solely to please his 
second partner, and although she is in no way deceived 
as to his status, may, even though in addition he iias 
been deserted by his first wife, be arrested and sent to 
prison at the bidding of the woman who deserts him. 

This, however, is not the full extent of the privilege. 
Men who, from passion, or for whatever motive, deceive 
the second partner, are severely punished. That is to 
say, a woman already deserting her husband, may 
entangle a man into an alliance with her which he 



26 

believes to be honourable and legal : may make him the 
father of her childreni and hamper him with the life-long^ 
obligation to support these unhappy offsprinp: : may thus 
brand her own children with the stamp of illegitima€:yy 
may squander his earnings for years, may finish the tale 
of her favours by involving him in a suit in the divorce 
court as a co-respondent, and in a prosecution in the 
criminal courts as an unwilling witness against his chil- 
dren's mother, and may do all this with absolute freedom 
from legal penalty. Let a man attempt to improve his 
financisd position, nay, let him, even at a pecuniary 
loss to himself, exercise the least similar deceit on any 
woman, and the Criminal Courts descend on him with 
swift retribution. 

The following article in a leading London daily news- 
paper is instructive : — 

** The sentence of seven years penal servitude passed 
by the Common Sergeant yesterday upon Charles Baker, 
who has for many years successfully practised bigamy 
as a profession, is not one day too long. Mr. Baker 
is evidently a person of irresistible fascination to ladies, 
and but for the rare courage of one of his victims, 
who had him tracked through both hemispheres, he 
might in time have bigamously married the residue of 
our unmarried women possessing suitable dowers. 
Quite another sort of bigamist was the cause of an 
application to Mr. Lane at the South Western Police 
Court. This was a young woman, who having married 
yesterday's applicant, while her first husband was still 
living, was strangely purged of her offence by Mr. 
Justice Hawkins after a day's imprisonment, on condi- 
tion that she returned — ^not to her legitimate spouse, but 
to the young man who irregularly succeeded him. This 
she did, but not for long, as the same young man had to 
complain yesterday, that she had, in turn, deserted him, 
for an old gentleman she used to go after before. The 
applicant, like a sensible young man, seemed able to 



27 

support this with philosophy, but what did raise his ire 
ivas her threat to prosecute him if he did not maintain 
lier, against which he sought — ^and naturally obtained— 
protection. The fickle young woman is evidently still 
unconversant with the rules of the game. Perhaps when 
she has tried as many husbands as Mr. Baker has 
married wives, she will know better. Really it^ is 
getting time to mete out equal treatment to masculine 
and feminine oflFenders." — Daily Chfonide^ May 21, 
1896. 

(i) Impunity for False Charges on Oath. 

No crime is too abominable to be imputed by a wife, 
ivith absolute impunity, against a husband. More pre- 
cise details need not be given, as recent instances will 
occur to the public mind of notorious and infamous ill- 
usage of a husband in this way by a heartless and vin- 
dictive woman. But the Public Prosecutor is silent 
when the false accusation is brought by one of the 
privileged sex. Prosecutions of women for perjury in 
a divorce suit are unknown. 

And, be it observed, this privilege extends to all 
female friends or hirelings of the wife. These persons 
are allowed to accuse, with elaborately-prepared details 
of corroboration, the husband of the woman litigant of 
committing adultery with themselves. They are never 
punished. An obliging maiden sister — ^to help her 
married sister to procure divorce and confiscation of 
property against a troublesome husband — swears that 
the husband committed adultery with herself, the wife's 
sister ! The judge and jury find this story a concocted 
lie. The infamous perjurer is not punished — ^is not even 
prosecuted. Obliging maid servants every day come 
forward to allege their own or some other woman's 
** immoral relations " with the victim husband. No one 
ever dreams of prosecuting them. It would be waste 
of time and money — as no jury would convict. 



28 

(k) Impunity for Perjured Denials of Guilt. 

Women, it is notorious, every day perjure themselves 
in divorce suits, by denying that they committed adultery 
when their guik is manifest. They are never prose- 
cuted. The administrators of the law show by their 
practice-ythough not in articulate words — ^that they hold 
such perjury a venial fault, if not, indeed, a justifiable 
means of self-defence in the case of holy, inviolate 
woman. 

This privilege, like the analogous one of bringing 
lying charges against a husband, extends to the wife's 
friends and hirdings. Let a husband untruly deny his 
illicit connection with a woman if his wife is the accuser. 
The Public Prosecutor intervenes, as a case decided in 
June, 1896, shows clearly enough, when the male went 
to penal servitude. 

Yet, be it observed, it is only the man's denying with 
the object of protecting himself against his wife that is 
punished. If the man be not a husband, but a co- 
respondent: if he deny the truth with the laudable 
object of protecting a wife (who happens to be an 
adulteress--but that does not strip her of her privilege) 
then his perjury is pardonable and chivalrous. The 
co-respondent is safe under the shadow of the wife. In 
fact he must lie. And this brings us to the- next bead 
of privilege. 

(I) Impunity for Treacherous Confession of Guilt 

Here we have a most striking rule — No woman is 
supposed to be a cowardly traitor if she turns ** wife's 
evidence " against a man, and truly allies that he had 
illicit relations with herself. She is assisting justice, 
/ promoting morality, showing true repentance by open 
L-; confession, and aiding in the women's trade union 
object of keeping down man, the slave ! Her treachery 
to her accomplice is condoned. 



? 



But a man who would dare to turn "husband's 
evidence*' against a wife, cannot be found withm the 
four seas. The reason stares one in the face. Such a 
w^itness would not be welcomed as a servant of justice, 
and a repentant sinner. No ! he would be esteemed by 
judge, jury, press and public to be a loathsome reptile, 
unfit for human society. A howl of execration would 
drive him from the land. Such a depth of morbid senti- 
ment has been reached that even if a man charged with 
immoral relations with a wife, refuses or omits — pre- 
sumably through religious or conscientious motives — 
to come forward and perjure himself on her behalf, an 
indignant press comments on his conduct, and tells him 
he has not acted as a gentleman. 

(m) Impunity to Procure Adultery. 

A wife seeking divorce and confiscation of her 
husband's property can exercise all her privileges of 
violence, insolence, and, under her recent charter, of 
adultery, without inconvenience, but she can in addition 
majce him guilty as well as herself, with the trivial 
difference that he will be punished. A wife can get 
female detectives to send female seducers in her bus* 
band's path, and can then produce her hirelings in the 
box with conclusive proofs of the husband's and their 
own guilt. 

If the attempt be made on the husband's side there is 
swift retribution. In the first place as the adultery was 
committed with his own connivance she is quite absolved 
from legal responsibility. But more follows. At this 
moment, such witnesses on a husband's side can be sent 
to prison for successful conspiracy to procure the 
adultery of a wife. The wtf^ herself wins her suit. 

12. Impunity to Murdbr Husband. 

Exactly as in the case of bigamy, the law on murder 
and homicide are nominally the same for men as for 



^/ 



30 

women. But if a wife by poisoning or violence, kills 
her husband, the administrators of the law show in 
practice what can be done by twisting a text. The 
matter will again be referred to under the Criminal 
Law, but provisionally the rules may be reduced to form 
somewhat as follows : — 

(i) The least excuse is sufficient to reduce the 
crime from murder to manslaughter. 

(2) All the wife's statements against her husband 
are assumed to be true until they are proved to be 
false. 

(3) The proof of the actual deed of crime must be 
much more conclusive than in the case of a man. 

(4) If the verdict be a mere chance one of murder, 
a sympathetic judge announces he will forward to 
the proper quarter the sympathetic jury's recom- 
mendation to mercy. This recommendation is acted 
on by the Home Secretary as a matter of course in 
the case of a woman. 

(5) If the verdict is, as it usually is, one of man- 
slaughter, a shamefully inadequate or possibly a 
merely nominal sentence is imposed. 

(a) Poisoning. 

This peculiarly treacherous crime is a legitimate mode 
of self-defence if practised by a wife on her husband. 

(b) Violence. 

A wife is still " weak woman " when armed with a 
poker, a metal pot, a vitriol bottle, a petroleum can, or a 
revolver. If these lethal substances killed her husband 
it must have been by accident. In any case he had 
taken her'** for better or worse," and had to put up with 
the consequences. Why did he cross her temper? 
Besides, even if she were ill-tempered, why did he not 
make a better selection when marrying ? The dimina- 



31 

tion of thoughtless males is rather useful on the whole 
to the progress of the race: 

The decisions to which this line of argument, con- 
scious or sub-conscious, leads judges and juries, 
shamefully neglectful of their public trust, may be seen 
from the appended cases, selected haphazard from a 
newspaper file. 

(c) Poisoning a Husband. 

Mrs. Maybrick was tried at Liverpool Assizes for 
poisoning her husband. She read a written statement 
by hersdf (Mr. Justice Stephens ordered that she be 
not permitted to communicate with her la,wyers before 
writing it) to the effect that she administered the poison 
to her husband at his own request. The judge and 
jury accepted her statement that she administered the 
poison, but disbelieved her statement that it was at his 
own request, and, wonderful to relate, she was convicted 
of murder. But the Home Secretary commuted her 
sentence ; and after undergoing a few years' imprison- 
ment she is now at large. 

(d) Setting a Husband on Fire. 

Mary O'Reardon, August ist, 1894, poured oil over 
her husband, and deliberately set him on fire with a 
lighted paper. Sentenced at the Central Criminal Court 
to six years' penal servitude. 

The offence was plainly wilful murder. The man had 
shortly before attempted to commit suicide — being 
driven to the attempt by her ill-usage. 

(e) Setting a Husband on Fire. 

Catherine Chilton (Durham Assizes, Nov. 24th, 1894) 
threw a lighted lamp at her husband. Sentenced to 
twelve months' hard labour for manslaughter. The 
judge described it as a wanton and wicked act, and 
said it was a mercy for the prisoner that the jury }iad 
reduced the original charge to one of manslaughter. 



J 



32 

(f) Stabbing a Husband. 

Annie Hibberd, August, 1894, stabbed her husband 
twice, remarking, ** Revenge is sweet." Found guilty 
of manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court, and 
sentenced to six years' penal servitude. 

(g) Driving a Waggon over a Husband. 

Jane Payne, August i8th, 1894, thrust her husband 
off a waggon, and then deliberately backed the horses, 
driving the wheels over him twice. Both legs fractured. 
He died a few hours afterwards. Found guilty of man- 
slaughter. 

(h) Setting a Husband and Child on Fire. 

Jane Ann Trelawney Baker (32) pleaded guilty to 
manslaughter of her husband and child by throwing a 
lighted lamp at the former. She was sentenced to three 
days' imprisonment, which meant her immediate release, 
and on leaving the dock remarked, amid the sympathy 
of the Court, that she was a childless widow, alone in 
the world ! ! !— Central Criminal Court, December 14th, 
1893. 

(i) Killing a Husband by Throwing a Knife at Him. 

At the Central Criminal Court, October 24th, 1896, a 
married woman surrendered to answer an indictment 
charging her with the manslaughter of her husband. 
The defence was that the prisoner did not fling the knife 
with the intention of killing her husband. She threw 
the knife in a moment of great mental irritation, and it 
unfortunately struck the deceased. The jury could not 
agree to a verdict and were discharged. The case was 
put back until the following week for counsel in the 
meantime to consider if it were necessary to proceed 
further with the case. Mr. Justice Wright, in allowing 
the prisoner out on a recognizance, told her that she 
need not attend unless she received notice to do so. The 



33 

judge, it should be added, who throughout the trial 
appeared favourable to the prisoner, disallowed various 
questions of the prosecution as to the previous relations 
>vith the husband, and cut short the medical evidence, 
saying that he did not like to see the time of the Court 
^wasted with cases such as these, or words to that effect. 
Of course not I Mere husband-killing, after all — ^what 
is that? In the opposite case, that of killing a wife by 
the husband, how often have judges been careful to 
point out to the jury that any unlawful assault, if death 
happened to result from it, was, in the eyes of the law» 
ivilful murder ! 

NON-MATRIMONIAL PRIVILEGES OF WOMEN 

As has already been stated, the division of our subject 
into the Matrimonial, Civil, and Criminal and Non- 
Matrimonial Privileges of Women, although obviously 
convenient, necessitates some over-lapping. This, how- 
ever, is unavoidable, as, for many reasons, it is well to 
keep the promised or actual wife's privileges against her 
husband and others clear from those of other women. 

But women in general have many and serious privi- 
leges besides those affecting the matrimonial or quasi- 
matrimonial relations. 

THE CRIMINAL LAW. 

The express wording of the law — ^and, much more, 
the tacit warping of the Criminal Law in favour of 
women by the bias of judge, jury, and the press — has 
created a regular system of conferring privileges on 
women as against men, or against the community in 
general : — 

I. As regards Trial. 

. 2. As regards Sentence. 

3. As regards Prison Treatment. 

4. As regards Pardon. 

D 



34 

The only exceptions to these privileges are : — 

(a) If the offence has been committed by one 
woman against another. 

(b) If the offence is by a baby farmer, committed 
against other women's babies. 

The reasons for these exceptions are, of course, 
obvious, and need not be dwelt upon here. 

I. Trial and Sentence. 

The rules are substantially the same as those affecting 
wives in particular, already enumerated. 

(a) The least excuse is sufficient to exonerate any 
woman from penal consequences. 

(b) All the women's statements against a man are 
assumed to be true until they are proved to be false. 

(c) The proof of the actual deed of crime must be 
much more conclusive than in the case of a man. 

{d) The jury almost invariably recommends to 
mercy on the rare occasions when they convict. 

(e) A shamefully inadequate or even a nominal 
sentence is imposed. 

2. List of Crimes. 

The list of the wife's exemptions from punishment for 
crimes against her husband may nearly all be repeated 
as enjoyed, though possibly in a somewhat less degree, 
by all women (other men's wives or not) against a man, 
or against the community at large, (i) In cases of 
drunkenness this offence against the safety of the com- 
munity is visited on the woman with a trifling fine. The 
matter is looked on rather as a joke than an offence. 
(2) In cases of libel and slander, a criminal prosecution 
against a woman is practically unknown. A nominal 
penalty, such as a promise not to repeat the offencfe, is 
the usual ending to such a prosecution. {3) Crimes of 



35 

assault and violence pfenerally are almost as privil^ed 
in the case of an ordinary woman as of a wile agamst 
a husband. (4) Murder is similarly reduced to man- 
slaughter, no matter who the woman may be, provided 
the victim is a man. (5) Waylaying, injuring business, 
or procuring dismissal, is similarly a pastime to be in- 
dulged in by any vindictive woman with absolute 
impunity. (6) Perjury is similarly a perquisite of the 
female litigant — ^whether perjury of the defensive or 
offensive type. (7) Turning wife's evidence after seduc- 
tion of husband is, of course, open to all women without 
punishment. (8) Conspiracy to procure the husband's 
seduction, as has already been stated, goes unpunished 
if committed on the wife's side. 

The class of offences more peculiarly effected by 
women in general, apart from wives, are due either to 
revenge or a desire to extort money. Violence, culmin- 
ating in murder, has been sufficiently dealt with in con- 
sidering the wife's privilege. Economic motive is 
displayed in crimes of Fraud, Libel and Slander, Way- 
laying, Seduction and Perjury, to levy blackmail — 
though sometimes libel and slander, waylaying, and 
perjury are due to motives of revenge. 

Sometimes the law expressly discriminates between 
men and women ; for instance, in the case of seduction : 
sometimes the administrators, for instance, in the case 
of fraud and perjury. 

(a) Fraud. 

Generally speaking, fraud by a woman against a 
man, by which he is deprived of all or a portion of his 
property, is not punishable*— if the woman has been in 
Tntimate relations with him ; it is her payment. If she 
be his wife fraud on her part is unnecessary, since the 
law expropriates him at her least request. Other women 
have an impunity to commit fraud. 

In case the man has not been in intimate relations, 
then the woman's offence is^ if punished at all, visited 

D2 



36 

by a tenth part of the sentence which would be inflicted 
if a man were the offender. 

(b) Libel and Slander. 

Cases are innumerable of men being sentenced to long 
terms of imprisonment for libel. No case is ever heard 
of a woman being similarly sentenced. 

The following are typical cases : — 

At the Essex Assizes, February 2nd, 1895, before 
Mr. Justice Mathew, Agnes Ellen Royce, a boarding- 
house keeper, pleaded guilty to demanding ;^30O from 
Dr. Edwin Worts, of Colchester, by menaces and 
threats. Mr. Avory, on behalf of the prisoner, stated 
that the letters and telegram !n which she threatened 
the doctor were written while she was in a hysterical 
condition, and he suggested that she should be bound 
over under the First Offenders Act. Mr. C. F. Gill, who 
prosecuted, said that the prisoner accused the doctor of 
having ruined her, and made many seroius allegations 
against him. No doubt she was labouring under very 
great excitement when she made these charges. She 
was discharged under the First Offenders Act. 

** Catharine Matilda Gordon, forty-six, described as 
having no occupation, and living at Mardon*s Croft, 
Moseley, near Birmingham, was charged on remand, 
before Mr. Newton, at Malborough Street Police Court, 
on Saturday, with unlawfully and maliciously publishing 
a defamatory libel concerning Mr. Thomas James 
Hooper, on March 27th last, at the Badminton Club, 
Piccadilly. The accused was not legally represented. 
The prosecutor is a solicitor, and acts as Clerk to the 
Justices of the Peace at Biggleswade. Mr. William 
Vyse, an independent gentleman and member of the 
Badminton Club, living at Wickham Road, Brockley, 
deposed that on or Bbout the 27th of March last he 
received from prisoner the postcard produced. Mrs. 
Gordon : * I wish very much to apologise publicly, and 



37 

to withdraw everything I have said about Mr. Hooper.' 
Mr. Hooper, in reply to the magistrate, said he regretted 
to say that he could not believe Mrs. Gordon, as he had 
received similar promises in writing which had been 
broken ; in fact, since the summons, which was issued 
before the warrant was taken out. She had written to 
him enclosing a letter from her solicitors recommending 
her to withdraw. Mr. Newtdn said that a woman who 
sent postcards of the nature referred to did the cruellest 
act imaginable. The prisoner had done a most wicked 
act, and had endeavoured to blacken the character of 
the prosecutor, apparently without any reason whatever. 
Probably there was not a single word of truth in her 
statements. To the prosecutor : * Do you think, Mr. 
Hooper, after this caution, you may give her another 
chance? ' Mr. Hooper : * I think so, sir.' Mrs. Gordon 
having assured the magistrate that she would not repeat 
her conduct, Mr. Newton bound her over in her recog- 
nisances in the sum of £20 to be of good behaviour in 
the future." — Daily Chronicle, May 4th, X896. 

(c) Waylaying, Injuring Business, and Procuring 

Dismissal 

This method of extortion is practically open to all 
women, wives or not. Medical men are peculiarly 
subject to this infliction, and even solicitors do not 
escape. But persons in humbler station are not exempt. 
The case of a police constable hanged for the murder of 
a woman some years ago brought the practice vividly, 
although temporarily, before the public mind. The 
woman had for years waylaid him, called at the police 
conunissioner's office, obtained the suspension of the 
constable, and boasted of her intention of procuring his 
dismissal. The man had no remedy. In a fit of passion 
he killed the woman, when waylaying him at midnight 
on his beat, and was hanged for the crime. (Case of 
Constable Cook, June, 1894.) 



38 

(d) Murder. 

The rule of the Common Law which prescribes 
hanging as the punishment for murder is practically 
abolished for females who murder men. 

The best illustration of the extent of the women's 
privilege to murder men will be found in the considera- 
tion of the number of cases in which women have been 
hanged during the last quarter of a century for the 
offence when, by a mere chance, they were convicted. 
As has been stated, a woman who kills a man is usually 
acquitted. If she be convicted, it is almost invariably 
of manslaughter, not murder. If she be by some off- 
chance convicted of murder, an agitation for her release 
is usually started. So the murderess escapes the 
gallows, except once or twice in a quarter of a century. 

(e) Seduction. 

The woman's privilege of seduction is twofold — in the 
Criminal Courts 'and in the Civil Courts. In the 
Criminal Courts there is no punishment of an abandoned 
woman in society, or out of it, who corrupts the morals 
of a minor. Even when disease is the result, there is 
no case on record of a prosecution, not to speak of 
punishment. A contrary rule prevails in France. So 
far has this revolting sex privilege been pushed that a 
boy of 14 can be convicted for committing an act to 
which he was incited by a girl just under 16, although, 
as is well known, a girl of that age is often a woman, 
while a boy of 14 is usually a child. 

This, however, does not exhaust the women's privi- 
lege of seduction. Not merely a female minor, but 
female adults are protected by exceptional law. Any 
person who, by false representations, procures immoral 
relations with a woman not of known immoral character 
— ^though the woman be 35 and the male culprit 14 — ^is 
liable to imprisonment with hard labour for two years. 



39 

All lying representations on the part of a woman are 
permissible, though her sole motive for procuring the 
connection is to obtain a hold over the man by which 
to blackmail him. 

When this statute was passed in 1887 it was said 
to be directed merely against criminal conspiracies of 
persons who, for purposes of gain, induced daughters 
of the people to have illicit relations with immoral rich 
men. A judge has thoughtfully extended the statute to 
the undreamt-of case of a man inducing a woman of 
mature age to have connection with himself — ^not with a 
third party. The whip of the blackmailer has thus been 
humanely turned into a whip of scorpions. (R. v. 
King, Monmouth Summer Assizes, 1890.) 

As an instance of the utter absence of the most 
elementary sense of impartial justice in the men and 
women who **run" this pro-feminist agitation, the 
foUowing may be taken : — One of .the latest suggestions 
of this worthy crew is an enactment by which men who 
shall infect their wives with any venereal disease (which 
they may, of course, have contracted before marriage) 
should be made liable to severe penal consequences. 
Now, we make no remark on the justice or injustice per 
se of this proposed extension of the criminal code. But 
it is not proposed to make it an offence in the wife ; and 
it comes from the very people who are loudest in 
bawling at the wicked violation of the rights of holy 
womanhood involved in the Contagious Diseases Acts, 
by which it is sought (not to punish women for infecting 
men, oh, dear, no I) but simply to prevent the spread of 
infection by women who make a trade of the sale of 
their bodies by compelling them to submit to examina- 
tion, and, if necessary, medical treatment. 

No cases can, of course, be cited from the records of 
the Criminal Courts of the adult woman's privilege of 
seduction, for the sufficient reason that the law does not 
regard it as an offence. 



J 



40 

But the minor woman's privilege is abundantly illus- 
trated because it is an offence for a male to allow himself 
to be seduced by her. One wretch was produced as 
witness against several boys younger than herself whom 
she had induced to commit the offence. The Court of 
Appeal held that she could not be punished, but her 
victims were consigned to prison. (Central Criminal 
Court and Court for Crown Cases Reserved, June, 
1894.) 

FALSE CHARGES ON OATH (EXTORTION OR 
REVENGE). 

It is not merely wives who are privileged to make 
false charges on oath, and to commit and to suborn 
perjury. An extensive trade in such charges is pursued 
by an increasing number of women, encouraged by the 
absolute impunity which attends their profitable crimes. 
Revenge for slighted claims plays a real though a very 
minor part in the manufacture of these accusations. 
Potiphar's wife has no monopoly of her methods of 
vengeance. 

These cowardly criminals know that the worst they 
have to fear is the charitable conclusion that they are 
** poor hysterical women.** 

Within the last few years there has been a large 
growth of enactments rendering legally punishable 
various offences against women and girls, and the zeal 
of the legislature for their protection has found an echo 
in the energy of the courts in the conviction of the 
accused. It is in such cases as these that injustice is 
readily wrought by sex-bias. There are no charges so 
easy to bring and so difficult to refute as accusations of 
sexual crime. So well is this recognised that the most 
innocent man would gladly pay any sum rather than face 
such a charge. The only defence is the proof of a nega- 
tive, always difficult and sometimes impossible, even to 



41 

the most inncx^ent. A moral and well-spent life, a high 
character, the esteem of friends alike wither before this 
blasting charge ; they even add fuel to it. This is shown 
by the extraordinary remark of one of our judges : **A 
good character only means that a man has not yet been 
found out." 

To the intrinsic difficulty of defence presented by the 
very nature of the alleged oflFence, the poverty, of the 
man accused often adds a terrible aggravation. The 
rich man can protect himself by all the resources of legal 
defence ; the poor man is left to the mercy of the wolves 
by his poverty; which, although it may protect him from 
blackmail, yet gives him no security against malignant 
spite — ^perhaps the most fruitful source of false accusa- 
tions. England, unlike continental countries, provides 
no legal defence for accused persons. This is serious 
enough in ordinary cases, but, in any trial in which a 
woman is concerned, it amounts to a refusal to a man of 
the commonest conditions of fairplay. The public pro- 
secution of alleged ofifences against women devolves on 
the Treasury — in other words, on the skilled advocates 
of the Crown, with the resources of the English tax- 
payer at their disposal in the preparation of cases and 
the procuring of witnesses. The accused is left unde- 
fended, to contend alone against the prejudice of juries. 
Public opinion and the press, which so ably voices it, are 
Arrayed against him. It is not, therefore, a matter for 
surprise that to be accused by a woman means, practic- 
ally, in the vast majority of cases, to be condemned. 

The necessity for careful inquiries into the character 
and antecedents of witnesses is nowhere so great as in 
cases of offences against women and girls. Charges so 
easy to make, so difficult to refute, ought to be regarded 
with the greatest suspicion, and not be accepted with 
ready credulity. The bona fides of all witnesses, the 
character of the accuser ought to be carefully scrutinised. 
To the undefended prisoner this is impossible. And even 



if the prisoner is defended, sentimental juries are deaf. 
Even where the character of the accuser is good, she 
may very well happen to be a woman of highly hysterical 
temperament. The eminent French scientist, M. 
Brouardel, says of this type of woman: "She is 
essentially a liar, that is the true criterion of the 
hysterical woman. Such a one has been known to keep 
at bay. for several years law courts, doctcM's, her own 
family, with a rampart built of lies upon lies." Accu- 
sations of sexual offences are readily forced by such 
women, and unless the juries can be convinced of the 
irresponsible character of their statements, the liberty 
and honour of the most innocent man may be destroyed. 

That distinguished judge, the late Baron Huddleston, 
in his charge to the jury on one occasion, referring to 
the Criminal Law Amendment Acts, stated that in his 
opinion, after an extensive experience of the Acts, men 
stood far more in need of protection against women 
than women against men. 

The total oppression inflicted by charges of sexual 
crime must not be measured by the cases which come 
into Court. It is a commonplace of the legal profession 
that for one such case ten are settled out of Court. In 
other words, a system of blackmail of the worst type 
finds its direct incentive and opportunity in the present 
state of legal administration. 

The following selection of a few of the cases arising 
in the years 1894 ^^^ ^^95 g^^^s some idea of the wide- 
spread evils of the present system. It must not be 
thought for a moment that because these cases have 
resulted in acquittals no reform is necessary. In view of 
the law of libel only cases where the accusations have 
failed can he citedy hut every criminal lawyer knows that 
failure occurs in only a small minority of cases. It must 
also be borne in mind that such charges entail social 
infamy unless triumphantly rebutted ; a mere acquittal 
will not suffice. 



43 

z.^Dr. Patrick Lyons Blewith (West Ham) was charged with a 
serious assault on Bessie Page (age i6i). On cross-examination she 
said she ** did not consent, but never mormnred,'* ** too frightened.*^ 
I>id not even tell the other people in the outer waiting-room. 
Acquittal. July 8th, 1894. 

3.— Alfred Lee, a vestryman, was charged on remand at Bow 
Street, with indecent behaviour in a public thoroughfare and in the 
presence of three females. From the report of the officer who made 
enquiries it appeared that the witnesses bore very indifferent 
characters. Three gentlemen deposed to the high moral reputation 
of the accused, who was discharged. April 24th, 1895. 

3.— Sarah Adams (West London) at night met R. B. Pearson in 
the street, and picked his pocket. When he attempted to retake the 
money she screamed and made *' accusations " against him. She 
got one month. August igth, 1894. 

4.— Joseph Barker (52), a coster, was charged by his daughter 
Eliza (age 14) with indecently assaulting her. Medical evidence 
revealed no trace of assault. The prisoner denied the accusation, 
but was nevertheless committed for trial (Islington). April 29th, 
1894. The Grand Jury threw out the bill. 

5.~WiIliam Hughes and his son, colliers at Pontypridd, were 
accused of having violated Maggie, aged 12, daughter of the elder 
prisoner. The child swore she had been put up to make the charge 
by Ellen Haines, the prisoner's housekeeper, and the doctors found 
no medical evidence. The case was dismissed. April 8th, 1894. 

6.— Dr. Thos. D. Griffiths, of Swansea, was accused by Mrs. 
Gwynne-Vaughan of committing adultery with her, also of perform- 
ing upon her an illegal operation and inducing abortion. All charges 
proved false. April 8th and Z5th, 1894. 

7.— Thos. Moore (44), manager to a tea merchant, was charged 
with disgraceful conduct to a young girl. He alleged that she 
began first by kissing him and poking him in the ribs. He was 
acquitted. May 27th, 1894. 

8.— Walter Hill was charged at the Old Bailey with indecent 
assault by Louisa Smart, and Ellen Windram was charged with 
aiding and abetting him. Hill and Wiodram were also charged 



44 

with conspiring to incite Maria Wakefield, a married woman, to 
commit adultery. The jury stopped the case and acquitted the 
prisoners. It is to be noted that Mrs. Smart was prosecutrix about 
the same time in another indecent assault case, and that Ada 
Wakefield was prosecutrix in a similar case against her uncle which 
was dismissed. September, 1894. 

In a paper read before the Birmingham and Midland 
Counties Branch of the British Medical Association, on 
November 9th, 1893, the eminent surgeon, Dr. Lawson 
Tait, F.R.C.S., thus sums up a large number of cases 
brought under his notice by the police authorities : — 

ANALYSIS OF CASES. 

" In this way I have now reported in all upon nearly a hundred 
cases, and I have advised prosecution in only six, and in all of these 
have convictions been obtained. It has, of course, been left to the 
police to prosecute as they chose on my report in twenty-two cases, 
and they have refrained from the prosecution in all but seven cases, 
and of these the bills were ignored in two cases by grand juries, in 
four light sentences were passed summarily or at sessions for com- 
mon assaults, and in one case punishment, probably well deserved, 
was obtained on a charge of wounding another person. In the 
remainder, about sixty-six, I have advised that no effort at prosecu- 
tion should be entertained for a moment, and the police have 
aquiesced in my advice. I say, concerning the number of the last 
class, 'about sixty-six,' because a number of the cases involved 
charges concerning two children, so that reckoning from the number 
of plaintiffs there would be a larger number of cases than if the 
statistics were taken from a list of defendants, and one case in 
particular will show how curiously important this may be.** 

In a further analysis he says : — 

" Excluding the special groups I have already alluded to, and a 
few others, to be excepted for various but not important reasons, I 
find I am left with a list of nearly fifty, in which there was not the 
slightest surgical evidence of an assault of any kind having been 
committed ; and from the fact that only in some five or six was the 



45 

question of a charge on the rednced connt even entertained, it must 
be clear that the amount of mannlactared charges of this kind is 
most alarmingly large. In twenty-six cases there was evidence 
quite satisfactory that the charges were trumped up from evil motive 
and in twenty-one the evidence was all in favour of accidental in- 
ducements, the children having been seen to be fondled by men of 
suspicious appearance. The first fact that strikes one about these 
cases is that the average age of the first group of children was 
within a small fraction of twelve years, whilst the average age of 
the second group is only seven years. A second material fact 
is that whilst the second group contains a considerable proportion 
of children of respectable and even well-to-do people, the former 
group is entirely composed of children of the lowest class of the 
population." 

Blackmail. 
He further states : — 

" There are at least twenty cases on my list where no assault was 
committed, nor could have any been, consistently with the story 
and the appearances found, in which blackmailing was deliberately 
attempted ; and I regret to say in many it was successful. One of 
the most outrageous was a charge of completely successful assault 
on a girl of fifteen, alleged to have been accomplished at ii a.m. on 
one of the iron spiral staircases in the Municipal Art Gallery. The 
complainant described the place and gave the date and hour with 
a precision which was remarkable, as also was her description of 
what took place. She described accurately the attendant, whom 
she charged by name. Only two things were against her— she was 
uninjured, and the attendance books of the institution showed 
conclusively that the defendant had not been at the gallery that 
day." 

"Wandering Servants" and Female Vigilance 
Committees. 

The following passage from his paper throws some 
light on the origin of many of these charges : — 

" The charges in a very large proportion of cases were distinctly 
based on motives sometimes of the most extraordinary kind, and in 



46 

tbe great bulk these motives were malevoleat. The * wandering 
servant ' motive is one of the least harmful, and aoconnts for a 
small number. To those who do not understand the phrase I may 
explain that it simply means that a girl who may have been quite 
innocently dawdling about till past the hour of return rigidly 
enforced by a strict mistress, does not go home, but wanders about 
all night or sleeps in an outhouse. She is either found by the 
police or goes back home in the morning and concocts on the way a 
story of rape, particularised by the most minute details, not one of 
which is corroborated on examination, nor can the police find a 
scrap of evidence in support of her story. Yet she becomes the 
interesting prey of some Vigilance Committee, and it is more by 
good luck than by good guiding, as the Scotch say, that she does 
not pick out and name some unfortunate man for the gratification 
of the prurient curiosity of the fussy women who have taken up her 
case. In one of these cases brought to me the interesting wanderer 
by misfortune, selected as her victim the husband of the chairwoman 
of her committee, and thus trouble came upon her and the committee 
was dissolved." 

Forcing a Man to Marry. 

In the following cases the facts are instructive as 
showing the use to which such charges may be put : — 

*' In one of the cases I regret having advised a prosecution, though 
technically I was quite right in doing so and bound to do it ; but 
now I have no doubt whatever that the assault was arranged and 
encouraged, and but for an untimely interruption something more 
would have followed. The charge preferred was laid solely for the 
purpose of bringing an unwilling bridegroom to the altar. This 
effect it had, for on the prosecutrix declaring in the witness-box that 
if he would keep his engagement and marry her she would with- 
draw the charge, a sympathetic judge advised him to take the offer, 
which he unwillingly did undet pressure of receiving a nominal 
sentence. The subsequent history of this couple has convinced me 
the whole thing was a plant on the unfortunate man." 

Speculative Attorneys and Milliners. 
In some of the cases he examined the question of age 
was important :— 



47 

** In a very few of these cases prosecntioii was oot advised and 
not undertaken by the police on the question of either real or 
apparent age. The wording of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 
is made to supply a few of the omissions of the old law concerning 
rape, and in raising the age tinder which the consent of the female 
participator is not recognised, the Act puts the dangerous weapon 
into the hands of that person of showing that she dses not appear 
to be sixteen. This is a fertile source of blackmailing, because a 
girl of fifteen and a half has only to get a man to have connection 
with her, or to attempt it, and he is at her mercy. If he will pay 
up his defence is easily arranged by the speculative attorney who 
is always at the back door of such cases. He has only to plead 
that he had a discussion with the girl about her age, that he reason- 
ably believed she was over sixteen, and a little skilful millinery 
displayed in the witness-box settles the release of the defendant. 
But if he won't pay up then the milliner can make the prosecutrix 
look much under sixteen, and a heavy sentence is the result. To 
give an opinion on the part of a skilled expert that a girl is or is 
not under fourteen, the usual molimenal age, is a matter of infinite 
ease compared to giving an opinion that the girl is or is not under 
sixteen. Maturity has been reached, and the changes at fifteen and 
sixteen are far less than at thirteen and fourteen, a very important 
fact which has been forgotten." 

Thb Motive op Malice. 

The following passages show that spite is often as 
potent a motive in these charges as blackmail : — 

"There is another and still more dangerous element in these 
cases, and that is the malice of persons, always women, who prac- 
tically get up the cases or provoke them, and with this may be 
placed a few subsidiary influences which may weU be classed with 
this. A few examples of some of them will be given in detail. 

** Two children were brought to me (case 56), aged fourteen and 
eleven and a-half respectively, living in the same set of back houses 
in a well-known and fairly respectable street, the elder girl looking 
much older than her ascertained age. The person against whom 
the charge was made was the father of the elder girl, and she made 
ihe cbaxge that she found her father indecently assaulting the 



48 

younger girl. She told the neighbonrs and the neighbonre brought 
in the police. The younger girl proved to be quite uninjured, but 
it speedily came out that the elder girl was her own father's 
r^;ular mistress for more than two years. The girl who was the 
cause of this action was one of the most virulent little minxes I 
ever saw, and she made no secret of her reason for splitting on hex 
ftither being the fact that she found him taking up with another 
girl. I have included this little wretch as one of the habitual 
prostitutes, but I do not believe she comes under the definition. 
She does afford, however, a perfect example of how the great bulk 
of these charges are brought about.'* 

Female Revenge on Father or Husband. 

The following shows that a similar horrible charge 
may be brought against an innocent man : — . 

** Two little wretches, of ten and twelve, who had been thrashed 
by their father for stealing, promptly turned round on him with a 
charge of having * seduced ' them both, giving here an interesting 
example of female revenge of the direst kind, attempted at an 
unusually early age. The charge had not the slightest foundation, 
and they admitted as much when they found they were not 
believed. Stepmothers give frequent examples of the same abomin- 
able attempts to punish their husbands by trumping up such 
charges, and in three instances mothers used even their own 
children as the instruments of their diabolical designs.*' 

Prejudice against Accused, 

As to the prejudice accusations of sexual crime incite. 
Dr. Lawson Tait says : — 

** Matters are such under this unrighteous combination that how- 
ever men may laugh at it and make jokes, they do not willingly 
travel with single unknown female companions in railway carriages- 
They know very well that for a man to have the finger of a woman 
pointed at him with a charge of a sexual offence is to secure that 
man's extinction, no matter what the verdict of a jury may be. In 
1881 ILond. Mid, Gazetti) a case was tried in which a girl, to shiekl 



49 

herself against her equal share of guilt, charged her partner in it 
with the crime of rape. The jury could hardly be got to acquit 
the innocent man even though the prosecutrix had to admit that 
she never called out, her mother sleeping in the next room, because 
she was afraid her cries would waken the old lady." 

The following indicates strongly one of the disadvan- 
tages the undefended prisoner labours under : — 

Danger ov Ruia Allowing Undbfbndbd Psisonbr to give 
Evidence. 

"This new arrangement by which a defendant is allowed to go 
into the box and give evidence on his own behalf is most mis- 
chievous when a poor prisoner is undefended. His poverty involves 
ignorance, of necessity, and in the hands of a prosecuting barrister 
his slightest slip in cross-examination will be made to tell against 
him mercilessly. That is the case if he elects to be sworn. If, on 
the contrary, he declines, either from ignorance or fear, the jury 
invariably reckons the fact against him. 

"I sat through a case quite lately and saw a poor ignorant 
wretch who. being undefended, did not understand the purport of 
the invitation, neglected this opportunity. The judge charged 
clearly in his favour — ^indeed, there was hardly any evidence 
against him. But the jury brought him in guilty, and in talking 
the matter over with one of them after I learned that they were 
much impressed by the fact that he did not give evidence." 

In considering the results arrived at by Dr. Lawson 
Tait we must bear in mind that the series of charges he 
analysed had all been brought under the notice of the 
police. The vast number of charges compromised for 
money, without any appeal to the police, must be added 
to form any fair estimate of the situation. 

The foregoing catalogue as regards specific crimes is 
striking enough, but it does not quite exhaust the 
criminal law privileges of women. As regards punish- 
ment, prison treatment and pardon, there are some 
additional immunities. 



so 

I. Privilege as to Punishment. 

(a) Flogging. 

The sacrosanct hide of female fiends must not be 
touched with the lash. Consequently, a wretch who 
tortures for years innocent children — ^like the Montague 
wild beast — ^must not be flogged. The female garrotter 
must not be flogged. 

By express enactment no one but a male can be 
sentenced to corporal punishment. 

(b) Hanging. 

As has already been shown the punishment of hanging 
has been practically abolished for women who murder 
mere men. If they murder some other woman or babies 
of some other woman it is quite a different thing. They 
are, however, exempt from hanging if they murder their 
own babies. 

(c) Duration of Imprisonment. 
In every case the duration of the term of imprison- 
ment passed on a female offender is, as everyone knows, 
enormously less than the punishment imposed on a man 
for a similar or a lesser offence. 

2. Privilege as to Prison Treatment. 

(a) Flogging. 

Under no circumstances can a female prisoner be 
flogged for breaches of prison discipline. Men and 
boys can be, and are, flogged like dogs for the most 
trivial disrespect to the governor and other officials. 

(h) Less Rigid Discipline. 

In one of the convict prisons a strike of female 
prisoners was announced against some disciplinary 
regulation to which they objected. The obnoxious 
regulation was rescinded. If they had been men they 
would have been flogged into submission. (Riot at 
Wormwood Scrubbs, 1894.) 



5« 

(c) Lighter Labour. 

This is quite apart from the fact that they are assigned 
much less toilsome forms of labour. 

3. Privilege as Regards Pardon. 
The comparative facility with which remission or 
commutation of sentence on female criminals can be 
procured is known to every solicitor conversant with 
Criminal Law Procedure — ^not merely in cases of infan- 
ticide — ^but in all cases of crimes of violence, the chances 
of pardon are immeasurably greater than in the case 
of a male. 

THE CIVIL LAW. 

As every litigant who has to contend with a woman 
knows to his cost, feminine privilege is not coniSned to 
matrimonial matters, nor to the Criminal Courts. The 
purse of the male is hit in the Civil Courts quite as 
heavily as his person in the exercise of the criminal 
privileges of the female sex. Anyone who has any 
relations, even of the most innocent character, with a 
woman, from a tenant or a trader who contracts with 
her to a casual guest at a friend's house who makes her 
acquaintance in a social way, may have occasion to 
discover that absence of intimacy does not necessarily 
shield him from unpleasant consequences. 

The chief privileges of women in the Civil Courts are 
as follows (they cannot be paralleled by those of a peer 
or a member of the House of Commons) : — 

1. Freedom from Arrest for Debt if Married. 

2. Property of Married Woman Exempt from 
Seizure. 

3. Privilege to Commit Breaches of Contract. 

4. Privilege to Defraud. 

5. Privilege to Seduce. 

6. Privilege to Commit Adultery. 

7. Privilege to Insult. 

8. Privilege to Assault. 

B2 



9. Privilege to Waylay. 
10. Privilege to Libel and Slander. 

1. Freedom from Arrest for Debt. 

The process of imprisonment for debt (nominally for 
contempt of Court in not paying an instalment of a debt) 
is retained in England under the Debtors Acts, 1869 
and 1882. But not in the case of the married female 1 
No married woman is to be punished for non-payment | 
of debt, and the Court is incapable of being contemned : 
by a married woman. This superiority to Common ' 
Law standard, for the mere male, yet again marks out 
the woman as a member of an inviolable noblesse. 

A woman can obtain goods and not be compelled to 
pay for them, may use all her arts of persuading the 
chivalrous trader — ^but no compulsory power of im- 
prisonment need disturb her. This may or may not be 
a good rule, if applied as in certain American States, to 
both men and women. But when reserved to women, 
it is an obvious sex privilege. 

2. Property Exempt from Seizure. 

A married woman, as already pointed out, although 
rolling in wealth and owning tens of thousands a year, 
even when separated and released from all duty to her 
husband and children, retains her privilege of having^ 
her property exempt from seizure for debt. Some very 
amusing cases — ^amusing that is to all except the male 
litigant — of rich women refusing to pay traders and 
solicitors will be present to the public mind. When a 
rich woman develops a taste for litigation, the wisdom 
of the legislature has found no way of protecting the 
defendant from ruinous costs. Even if she quarrels 
with her solicitor, he is powerless to protect himself 
against being mulcted in costs — ^perhaps a happy stroke 
of poetic justice, as lawyers have largelv created these 
oppressive sex-privileges of women. (See the many 
ramifications of the Cathcart Case.) 



53 

3* Breach of Contract. 

The absence of any compulsory power over a 
woman's person or a married woman's property and the 
bias of the courts amounts practically to a licence for 
her to break any contract at pleasure. This is quite 
apart from the peculiar privilege of women to waste 
a man's time and money in a pretended engagement, 
possibily to lure on a more wealthy lover — ^and to be 
exempt from penalty. Their privilege to commit per- 
jury and slander with impunity plays a great part in 
the decision of any case in which a woman's contract 
is concerned. All stockbrokers, insurance agents, soli- 
citors, and bankers, and business men generally, know 
how hopeless, as a rule, is any prospect of getting a 
contract enforced against a woman. As a rule it is best 
to compromise or submit to injustice rather than try it 
out with an adversary privileged to use loaded dice. 

4. Privilege to DefrACd. 

Precisely as in the Criminal Law, there is no real 
remedy against any fraud not of extraordinary magni- 
tude and clearness of proof, perpetrated by a woman on 
a man. 

A notorious female blackmailer brings lying accusa- 
tions, suing on breach of promise of marriage, against 
a prominent Conservative member of Parliament. She 
loses her suit as she has to admit on cross-examination 
that she a few months previously, had extorted ;^5,ooo 
from another victim of a similar suit, which was hushed 
up. But her victim could not get back his ;^5,ooo — 
and no one suggested civil or criminal process against 
her. 

5. Privilege to Seduce. 

The feminine privilege of seduction extends also to 
the civil Courts. No civil action lies against any woman 
of full age for the seduction of a minor, not even if her 
doings be a device to entrap him by threats of scandal 



54 

into marriage, and the attainment of title and fortune 
by her inducements to lead him astray. 

The male minor in France has some protection. The 
consent of cooler heads is required to his marriage. 
In England he has no protection from the terrible 
consequences of succumbing to the wiles of a female 
seducer. 

Contrast the law of England on the seduction of the 
female, minor or adult. Vindictive damages are to be 
had for the asking from the indignant jury. Legal 
fictions of ** loss of service'* by parents, are laid under 
requisition to prevent the operation of the maxim 
** volenti non fit injuria.^* 

6. Privilege to Commit Adultery. 

No action, civil or criminal, lies against a woman who 
induces a married man to have illicit relations with her. 
She may succeed in stripping the man of all his fortune, 
blackmail him for years, break up his home, cause him 
to be deprived of the custody of his children, and cap 
the climax of her crimes by appearing as a willing ^rit- 
ness for his wife in the Courts. No penalty awaits her. 

A man who seduces or is seduced by a wife has the 
satisfaction of being held up to public odium} as a 
traitorous scoundrel, and at the same time of paying 
enormous costs and damages — ^the latter being settled 
on the delinquent wife. 

7. Privilege to Insult. 

For some mysterious reason a woman is supposed 
to be incapable of insulting a man. She may use most 
insolent language in a public assembly, waylay him at 
his office, or place of business, and adopt any other 
method of annoyance that malignity can devise, and the 
law refuses to protect him, and sends him to hard 
labour if he is goaded into retort. 

Jeremy Bentham proposed a century agQ that women 
insulting other citizens should be punished by being 



55 

exposed to public ridicule in a pilloty. But we are now 
a long way ofiF from the adoption of such a remedy as 
that. 

The sturdier Englishmen of former times restrained 
feminine provocation to violence by the summary 
methods of the cucking school and the indictment at 
the assizes of the ** common scold," not to mention the 
domestic discipline of the husband. 

8. Privilege to Assault. 

In a similar mysterious way a woman is supposed 
incapable of assaulting a man — at least in such a way 
as to deserve, not to say criminal punishment, but even 
the exaction of pecuniary recompense. It is true that a 
woman with a weapon can cause grievous bodily harm. 
But the mere man has to put up with the consequences 
of such displays of feminine independence, inasmuch as 
the privilege holds good in civil as well as in criminal 
law. 

9. Privilege to Waylay. 

In civil as well as criminal Courts this offence in 
women is unpunished. Let a man protect himself is the 
general rule on the subject. But as he is punished if 
he attempts to protect himself, he has simply to submit 
to the outrage. 

10. Privilege to Libel And Slander. 

To bring unfounded charges against any man — not 
against a fellow woman — is now a well-established legal 
privilege of the fair sex. However, originally it was 
restrained in earlier days by legal process and domestic 
discipline. Exactly as in breaches of contract, it is 
usually wise to submit to the injustice. 

But the rising wave of pro-feminist sentiment has 
reached a curious height of late years. A woman can 
accuse a man of sexual irregularities with absolute 
impunity. But it is not to be supposed that he is to 
have a like privilege. A special statute (Slander of 



56 

Women Act) passed a few years ago, makes sucli 
slander of a woman actionable. But she retains her 
privilege of slandering a man. If this be not a statutory 
sex-privilege words must have lost their meaning. 

The grim irony of making a man responsible for his 
wife's slanders, and other misdeeds — ^although the law 
has deprived him of all control over her person or 
property, has been already referred to. 

THE ACTUAL EXERCISE OF WOMEN'S SEX 
PRIVILEGES. 

The most curious of all concomitants of the legal sub- 
jection of men in England arise, first, that many men 
are not conscious of the real state of the law, and 
secondly, that a very loud-voiced minority of women, 
reinforced by sycophantic males, represent the law as 
being the apotheosis of unjust sex-privileges on the 
part of men. 

The last phenomonen is, no doubt, in great part one 
cause of the first, but other causes for men's uncon- 
sciousness contribute. 

A survival of the days when the physical force of the 
man was allowed by the State to play a part in his 
quarrels with women, survive in the public delusion that 
it is impossible for a man to be oppressed by women. 
How can men be legally oppressed by women? Are 
not men, if worthy of the name, able to defend them- 
selves? This objection, once categorically stated, is 
seen to be ridiculous. A legal defence is not a matter 
of strength or courage, but of skill. Even a skilled 
defence is a poor protection before a biased tribunal. 
But lastly, the whole question of muscular strength is 
absurdly and outrageously irrelevant. The bravest and 
strongest man is as weak as a child before the over- 
whelming force of the State. Any woman can at will 
summon to her aid a power no man can resist. And 
behind this force of law rests the equally irresistible 



57 

force of public opinion. All this, under the present 
dispensation, is arrayed against the man accused by a 
woman. The woman accuser wields the whole power 
of the Courts and the community, backed up by the 
press and public opinion. Her physical strength is an 
irrelevant matter, her real force lies in the state of 
public opinion before which the man becomes helpless. 
The power of the autocrat lies not in his physical 
strength, but in his ability to summon at a beck the 
resources of the State. The Czar of Russia is, and the 
Emperor Nero was, physically no stronger than the 
merest beggar. Catherine of Russia was physically 
weaker than the lowest of her grenadiers. 

1. The law is not generally known by the vulgar, 
and lawyers, unless paid, are not usually accustomed 
to be expansive \o the public at large on the subject of 
their information. Ignorance by the public of the law 
promotes litigation, and lawyers individually are not 
particularly oppressed by or frightened at the legal 
privileges of women. The technical skill of the lawyer 
and his powerful trade union usually enables him to get 
the best of the woman who contends with him in the 
law courts. Similarly, in former days, the lawyer took 
care to guard himself from being hurt by the feudal 
privileges of the noble, which weighed so heavily on the 
rest of the community. 

2. Most women in England are still under the in- 
fluence of the earlier polity of the Church and of 
Christendom. They do not dispute the duty of female 
subordination, and do not in fact as yet think of exer- 
cising the more flagrant of these new-fangled legal sex- 
privileges. The utmost pitch of domination that the 
majority have reached to is a noticeable increase in the 
display of overbearing manners towards their husbands, 
and other male dependents, and the palpable conscious- 
ness that the threat of a ** public scene " will bring the 
scene-hating Englishman to his knees. 



58 

3- A large minority of women influenced by kindness 
and self-respect and all amiable qualitieSi do not exercise 
any of these iniquitous sex-privileges at all. 

If an insignificant minority of women are oppressed 
by individual men, it is merely because, from any 
reason, economic or other, the woman does not for at 
considerable time, choose to go to the Police Courts. 
When a fact of this kind comes to be published, it is 
trumpeted forth in the press — ^the press which carefully 
excludes stories of male slavery — with the object of 
producing a false impression as to the side oh which the 
balance of injustice is to be found. 

4. The more flagrant of these privileges are in 
practice resorted to chiefly by the more profligate of 
the female sex. Happily every man does not fall a 
victim. But those who do find it convenient to keep 
concealed the story of their wrongs. Their friends 
might believe in their innocence, but their enemies or 
the public at large would not. The man injured by a 
woman has no sex-conscious ** man's party " to appeal 
to. Every brawling wife and shrieking termagant or 
cold-blooded blackmailer has a sex-conscious propa- 
ganda ready to her hand. 

It is therefore all the more important to remember 
that these privileges conferred by the law of England on 
the woman against the man, are no dead letter. They 
are actually enforced with rigour that increases every 
day. Judge, jury, counsel and press vie with each other 
in driving the iron into the soul of the unfortunate man 
who is forced to contend with a woman in the law 
courts. Such an extreme of squalid unrighteousness 
has been reached that it has become a commonplace of 
the legal profession that no justice is to be had in the 
Courts against a woman — ^unless in some case of out- 
rageous atrocity, and not always even then. 

The origin of this singular phenomenon — a revival of 
barbaric gynoeocracy among the English-speaking 



59 

people in the British Islands, America and the British 
Colonies is a subject of the deepest interest, but not one 
lending itself to cursory treatment. A photograph of 
the outer surface — a picture of the facts of the law is 
all that has been attempted here. 

To confine our attention to the strictly necessary, it 
will suffice to remind the reader that the ordinary 
motives which induce the more selfish members of any 
privileged class to use a privilege, exist in the case of 
women. Many slave-owners were as indulgent as St. 
Clair, but many were like Legrefe. 

The chief impelling motives appear to be : — 

1. A desire for economic advantage to get money 
without trouble ; to exploit the labour of the male slave, 
enthralled by the law — ^this works quite as well to impel 
a woman as a man to use an unjust power. It is the 
predatory instinct present in pirates, robbers and 
criminals of all classes. 

2. A desire to domineer and oppress. This impulsis 
as distinguished from ordinary revengefulness is, some 
think, stronger in women than in men. No one will 
deny its existence in both men and women, whatever 
be its special cause. 

3. Malignity and vindictiveness. Inordinate revenge 
for real or fancied wrongs, disproportioned vindictive- 
ness for the chance slights of a complex social life may 
be safely reckoned on to actuate the bitterer section of a 
female nohlesse as well as a male one. If power does not 
corrupt, at least it gives room for corruption to spread. 

Modern life among English speaking people, while 
releasing women from male guidance, l^s, by individu- 
alising women, multiplied the occasions of conflict 
between members of the two sexes. Different ideals 
and tests of action (women judge men by one standard 
and men judge women by another), the result of natural 
divergencies, as well as of education, absence of sex- 
illusion on the female side and its presence on the male 
side, add to these occasions. 



6o 

4. Many women who, of their own accord, bemg still 
under the influence of the earlier policy of Christendom, 
would not think of exercising the force of public opinion, 
or the privileges of a one-sided law against their hus- 
bands or other men, are influenced to do so in various 
ways. The incessant clamour of a hysterical press 
leads them to suppose that in any quarrel with a man, 
the man must be wrong, the woman never can be wrong. 
The shrieks of the ** new woman " propaganda suggest 
to women that in making most infamous use of her 
weapons she is upholding the cause of her ** sisters." 
Furthermore the new mammon-worship which has in- 
fected all modern English life has produced among the 
average middle class woman an unspoken theory — ^that 
the sole duty of man is to make money for his wife. 

The revolutionary theory of equality, dating from 
1789 — ^is applied only on one side, and it is assumed as 
an axiom that a wife is kept and has a right to do 
precisely as she pleases. At the same time it is taken 
as quite self-evident that she is emancipated from any 
duty of obedience or even civility to him. Added to the 
conclusions of the feminist spirit of domination, the 
final position is that the man is to submit to all inso- 
lences and outrages without redress. 

This conception of the relative positions of men and 
women is urged in a thousand different ways on any 
woman who has a quarrel with her husband, and must 
inevitably influence the average woman. 

5. Many women, themselves ignorant of the modern 
law, are instigated by lawyers to bring suits, relying on 
their iniquitous legal privileges. Not merely are men's 
reputations, lives and fortunes thus endangered, but in 
this way the present state of >^the law has become a 
powerful solvent of the historic basis of the family rela- 
tions of Christendom, by encouraging disputes between 
wives and husbands. Sir Walter Phillimore in a recent 



6i 

speech has pointed out what a part is played by solicitors 
in the promotion of divorce suits. 

The essential thing, therefore, to remember is that the 
legfal subjection of women in England, if it ever existed, 
has gone, and long gone. It is succeeded by a state of 
sordid subjection of the man to a biased public opinion, 
to a hysterical press, and to sentimental administrators 
of a corrupted law. 

There are, however, some signs that the legal subjec- 
tion of men in England is not destined to live for ever. 
The law, after all, is the shadow of public opinion. 

MUSCULAR INFERIORITY AND SEX- 
PRIVILEGE. 
We must once more refer, on account of its wide- 
spreading popularity, to the cheap sneer by which some 
small but ** gallant '* wits may endeavour to turn the 
edge of the foregoing observations, namely, the attempt 
to play off the muscular inferiority of women to men as 
an answer to any allegation of oppression exercised op 
behalf of the so-called weaker sex. When looked ai 
fairly in the face, the point in question will be seen so 
preposterously absurd as to be hardly worth answering. 
But, nevertheless, absurd as it is, it undoubtedly plays 
a part, half unconsciously, in the apathy of most men 
on the question of female privilege. Because men are 
muscularly stronger than women, it is felt by many, 
and the feeling is supported by the class of cheap wit- 
ticism above referred to, that therefore it is im- 
possible for men to be seriously oppressed by 
women. A moment's reflection suffices to show that 
the question of muscular strength or weakness is 
absolutely immaterial to the issue. It would be just as 
reasonable to suppose that because the Czar of Russia 
and his high officials were less muscularly developed 
than the average Russian peasant, that the possibility 
of the Russian peasant being seriously oppressed by the 
Czar or his government was a proposition to be laughed 



6a 

at. The weakest and most frail woman, backed by the 
whole power of the State, may easily annihilate by the 
State forces summoned by her scream, a legion of 
Samsons or Hercules. 

A SEX NOBLESSE. 

From all we have said, 4t will now be evident, one 
would think, to the most prejudiced reader, that modern 
English Law, following obsequiously a deluded or 
apathetic stage of public opinion, has solved the problem 
of the division of rights and duties between the sexes, 
by conceding to woman all rights, and imposing on man 
all duties. 

It would not be difficult to show, were it worth while, 
that even the disabilities of women in past times have 
been grossly exaggerated by apostles of the feminist 
cultus who have, of course, taken a brief to prove the 
wickedness of ** hqrrid man " to the poor down-trodden 
female. Such disabilities as really obtained were for the 
most part the necessary outcome of women's position as 
non-combatants in a rude fighting age, and certainly did 
not originate, as is generaUy represented, in any deep- 
laid scheme of male devising. In return for a certain 
formal subjection, in some respects, they obtained not 
only the blessing of protection, then an important 
matter, but valuable privileges in other directions. An 
impartial student of history must admit that, however 
badly men have treated their fellow-men, they have 
always treated women with comparative generosity. 
The change from feudal to modern capitalist conditions, 
as regards the position of women, is characterised, 
however, not only by, at one and the same time, the 
abolition of every vestige of subordination or disability, 
but, in addition to that, by the extension of the old 
compensating privileges, which were the counterpart of 
the former, and by the further heaping up on the top 
of these of new privileges, the result having finally 
saddled us with the institution of that sex-noblesse the 



63 

leading features of which we have sketched out in the 
foregoing pages. 

SOCIALISTS AND FEMINISTS. 
Certain Socialist writers are fond of describing the ^ 
Social-Democratic State of the future as implying the / 
' ' emancipation of the proletarian and the woman,** As ^ 
regards the latter point, however, if emancipation is 
taken to include domination, we have not to wait so 
long. The highest development of modern capitalism, 
as exemplified in the English-speaking coimtries, has 
placed man to all intents and purposes, legally under 
the heel of woman. So far as the relations of the sexes 
are concerned, it would be the task of Socialism^ to 
emancipate man from this position, if sex-equality be 
the goal aimed at. The first step on the road towards 
such equality would necessarily consist in the abolition 
of modern female privilege. 

THE SUFFRAGE. 
It is absurd for feminist advocates to trot out their 
threadbare grievance of the want of the suffrage as a 
serious disability in the face of all the privileges we 
have been discussing. It may be right, or it may be 
wrong, for women to have the suffrage. Respecting 
this we say nothing here. But, whether rij^ht or wrong, 
we deny that the lack of it, by an otherwise privileged 
class, constitutes a grievance. Electoral disqualifica- 
tions are often attendant on special privilege. The 
Royal Family of this realm, with all their branches, are 
debarred from the exercise of both the passive and the 
active franchise. And yet no one pleads that, say, the 
Prince of Wales, is, in consequence, a cruelly oppressed 
personage. Similarly the clergy of the Established 
Church are debarred at least from the passive franchise 
(i.e., they may not sit in Parliament), and yet we have 
never heard it contended that on this account they are a 
sorely hard-done-by section of the community. Where 
women have parliament, law courts, police magistrates. 



64 

judges as their obsequious humble servants, what more 
could they expect to obtain, even if they had the 
suffrage? 

•' THE OPPRESSED WOMAN.'' 

As regards the occasional cases of the ill-treatment of 
women by men, especially wife assaults and such like, 
these may be traced largely to the infamous state of the 
law we have described. Where the law practically 
refuses justice to one section of the community against 
another, it is only ** human nature " (if we may employ 
that much-abused phrase) that occasionally members of 
the section to which justice is refused should be found 
to take the matter into their own hands, and attempt 
to redress the balance, by acts, amounting sometimes to 
brutality. It were surely more reasonable, rather than 
to expend indignation and ferocity on the individual 
offender, to seek out and remedy the underlying cause 
of the offence. Give men reasonable justice as against 
women, cease to trample underfoot every principle of 
equity and fair play at the behest of feminist shrieks, 
and the excuse, or at least, palliation which now un- 
doubtedly exists for any sporadic brutality on the part 
of men, and especially husbands, of which women may 
be the victims, would be done away with. Whilst the 
law remains as it is women deserve scant pity if they 
do on rare occasions get the worst of it in their dealings 
with men. 

In the foregoing pages we have set forth the respec- 
tive legal position of the sexes as it now stands. Our 
aim in doing so has been, by spreading knowledge of 
the facts of the case, to prevent uninformed though 
otherwise fair-minded persons from falling a prey to the 
maudlin rant of demagogic charlatans (male and 
female), ignorant of law and as destitute of the capacity 
of independent judgment on any subject as they are of 
any impartial sense of justice, who so frequently deliver 
themselves in press and on platform on the subject of 
the ** wrongs of woman." 



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